Chandigarh: For 63-year-old Madan Lal Vashisth it is just a volunteer or selfless service (seva) that he has cremated more than 1,500 bodies till now over the past 19 years.
Vashisth, who took the initiative to cremate unclaimed bodies when he was 44, says on an average he cremates around 13-14 bodies in a month.
“I have cremated 1,540 bodies till date. Nearly 99 per cent of them were unclaimed. However, 1 per cent belonged to those families which did not have enough money to cremate the bodies.”
“I started this service of cremating the unclaimed bodies when I was associated with an NGO, All-India Seva Samiti. After the NGO members decided to discontinue the service of cremation, I remained enrolled into the service and till now I have cremated 1,540 bodies,” said Vashisth.
On the expense on cremating a body, Vashisth said, “Around Rs 2000- 2300 is needed for the cremation of a body. The expenditure includes, van to ferry the body, clothes for the body and the fuelwood. For cremation of every unclaimed body, the sellers give some concession.”
He said though the officials concerned from the MC and others do pay the bills of the cremation, none of the department concerned of the UT has ever come for help in the cause. There are a few people in tricity who donate some amounts of money for the cause, but I would request people to come forward and help me in this noble cause, he added.