New Delhi: With the Government actively looking for ways to check pollution in river Ganga, Union Water Resource Minister Uma Bharti on Monday said immersion of mortal remains would not be allowed on the banks of the holy river.
"There is no ban on immersion of mortal remains (asthi visarjan) in Ganga, but it should be done in deep waters in the middle of the river and not at the banks," she said, adding we will not allow asthi visarjan on the banks.
The Minister, after the first meeting of the reconstituted National Ganga River Basin Authority here, said that as far as immersion of mortal remains was concerned, saints have told us that whatever we decide, they would agree to it.
Speaking about the design of crematorium so as to ensure that half burnt wood was not thrown in the river, she said, As far as cremation was concerned, both the options - traditional cremation using wood and electric crematorium were open.
"If somebody's last rites have to be performed through wood, it has to be ensured that it is done with minimum wood. I have always talked about such a design that consume less wood. If sadhus tell us that electric crematorium was ok then we can ensure both types of crematorium.
"For tradition cremation using wood, I had only said that design should be such that minimum wood was required and the body is completely burnt so that half burnt wood is not thrown into the river," Bharti told reporters.
She said that it would be implemented after review by a technical committee comprising of members of IIT, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and CPCB and in consultation with saints.
Bharti further added that there would be no restrictions on immersion of puja materials.
However, she said that a net would be used to fish out these materials away from the eyesight of devotees involving the NGOs and municipal bodies, which would generate work for the locals.
The other decisions that were taken during the meeting include a proposal to setup a National Ganga Monitoring Centre for controlling pollution in Ganga, which would be done on a real time monitoring.
She also observed that an Act, if required, would be formulated for the conservation of Ganga.
She, however, added that it would be last resort.
A branch of Central Water and Power Research Station would be opened in Varanasi and Delhi.