Incinerators to replace traditional pyres for cremation

Although only one of the four installed is in working condition
Thromde: Thimphu thromde will replace the traditional funeral pyres to cremate bodies with about 10 incinerators in the capital’s crematorium.
Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said the traditional cremation is not good for the environment given the amount of firewood used, the smoke it emitted and the large amount of ash thrown into the river. “The use of incinerators do not pollute the environment and the ash produced is also less,” he said.
The work to revamp the existing three incinerators in the crematorium has begun and is expected to complete by December this year. The crematorium has four incinerators installed since 1997 but except for one, the rest are not in working condition.
“The current incinerator room will be extended and the walls will have traditional paintings so that it looks like a lhakhang and people’s mentality will also change,” the thrompon said.
The thromde is working on installing six more and a budget of Nu 16 million has been submitted to the government.
The lone incinerator has cremated about 35 bodies to date since its installation, according to a caretaker of the crematorium, Kailash Rai.
The caretaker said most preferred the body of their relatives to be cremated in the traditional way because of religious reasons.
“Most bodies cremated in the machine were of those who killed themselves and the unclaimed bodies,” Kailash Rai said.
On an average, about three bodies are cremated in a day in the crematorium and 1.5 cubic meters of wood is used for a body. It takes about three hours for a body to cremate, both in the incinerator as well as in a traditional pyre.
Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said there wouldn’t be a problem to cremate a body in an incinerator from a religious aspect. “In the traditional pyre, if a body don’t burn well, various measures such as pouring oil or poking the body with sticks is done, which is not good,” he said.
By Dechen Tshomo

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