GUWAHATI, July 18 - The State government has drawn flak from various quarters over naming of the electric crematorium after literary giant Dr Banikanta Kakati which was launched at Ulubari recently.
However, defending naming of the crematorium after his grandfather, Dhiraj Kakati, eldest grandson of Dr Banikanta Kakati, told The Assam Tribune that the crematorium had only awakened the conscience of the people of Assam. �Where were these people when one of the greatest litterateurs of Assam had remained marginalised for 68 years?� he questioned.
�There is a list of crematoriums and memorials named after famous people of India including Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Jawaharlal Nehru, among others, so why can�t this project be named after Dr Banikanta Kakati?� he argued.
Kakati was also critical of the State government for not accommodating the Ulubari Smashan Committee (USC) in the management of the crematorium as was initially proposed.
The electric crematorium was launched on July 13, nearly nine years after the USC conceived and promoted a proposal for such a project. It was Devakanta Kakati, son of Dr Banikanta Kakati who had recommended the idea of a memorial at the site where his father was cremated. Later, it was taken forward by the eldest grandson of Dr Banikanta Kakati, Dhiraj Kakati with the support and perseverance of the Ulubari Smashan Committee over the years.
�It is the Ulubari Smashan Committee behind the successful inauguration of the project. We had proposed the name �Dr Banikanta Kakati Samadhi Sthal� for the electric crematorium instead of �Dr Banikanta Kakati Electric Crematorium�, but it can be fixed now with help of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation,� Dhiraj Kakati said.
He further said that in order to make the crematorium project, which is power intensive, viable and sustainable, the USC had petitioned the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission to notify a separate category tariff for electric crematoriums, which is now notified at Rs 4.50 per unit.
�After four years of navigating through the bureaucratic bottleneck, the project was sanctioned for execution to the GMDA and the foundation stone of this project was laid by former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on December 30 in 2015,� Dhiraj Kakati added.
After the project was completed it was handed over to the Guwahati Municipal Corporation by the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority through signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
Reacting to development, Dhiraj Kakati said, �The decision was like a shock for us as they did not share the copy of the MoU with us nor discussed the matter with us. Earlier, we provided a proposal to the Guwahati Development Department that the crematorium be handed over to the USC for operations and management on public-private-partnership mode,� he said.