Death becomes expensive as wood prices soar in Lucknow
Lucknow, March 23: With inflation, life is getting expensive but now death is also getting costlier in Lucknow.
Families coming for the last rites of their loved ones at Baikunth Dham and Gulala Ghat are complaining that the wood for pyre is being sold for Rs 650-700 per quintal against Rs 550 prescribed by the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC).

The contractor selling wood for the pyre is demanding Rs 2,520 for 3.6 quintal wood required for funeral when it should be around Rs 2,000 as per the rate of Rs 550 per quintal displayed on the board.

Those who question the high price of wood are curtly asked to go to the electric crematorium.

Pandit Narendra Mishra, who performs the duty of 'maha-brahmin' at Baikunth Dham, said "Each funeral pyre requires 3-4 quintals of wood. Contractors have increased the price as the cost of wood has gone up in the market. They also have to pay for labour and transportation."

Defending the price hike decision, Kumar, a contractor at Baikunth Dham said that the LMC had not revised rates since 2010.

"Over the years, the cost of wood and other expenses has increased tremendously. In 2020, the cost of wood in the market was about Rs 400 per quintal which has now soared to Rs 600. In December, we requested the LMC officials to revise rates but got no reply. As we were suffering huge losses, we decided to increase the rates on our own," he said.

Municipal commissioner Inderjit Singh said that a three-member committee had been formed to look into the matter. "We will meet contractors to fix the rates after the committee files its report," he said.

The electric crematorium, meanwhile, in unable to handle the rush in view of diversions from the traditional cremation grounds.

"We need to set up more electric crematoriums to ease the burden on traditional cremation grounds. People are now ready to accept electric crematoriums," said a former MLA.

(IANS | Posted on 23 March 2023, 1695756085 3O239O59O31)