Shortage of firewood in Jammu cremation grounds: RSS rings Lal Singh

Special Correspondent

Jammu

Forest Minister Choudhary Lal Singh is wondering about who went all the way to RSS General Secretary (GS) Bhaiyyaji Joshi with a complaint that while BJP was in power in Jammu and Kashmir, Cremation grounds were facing shortage of fire wood.

Sources said that Singh was shocked when he learnt that someone had complained with “powerful” RSS General Secretary (GS) Bhaiyyaji Joshi and went to the extent of alleging that the minister being an intruder in BJP has little interest in the issues concerning minorities of Jammu and Kashmir. Singh was rung up and specifically told to address the issue at the earliest, said the source.

The Minister took note and directed his department to address the issue on priority. The complainant had claimed that there was serious shortage of fire wood at Channi Himmat, Jogi Gate,  Shastri Nagar and Shakti Nagar cremation grounds of Jammu city from the last more than two weeks. The members of Sewa Samiti connected with the arrangement / performance of last rites of the deceased persons claimed that they have deposited advance money with the Divisional Forest Office, Jammu but they have failed to provide fire wood for making pyre of those dead.

The matter on February 3 took a turn when a female member from Sainik Colony was denied fire wood at Channi Himmat Cremation Ground.

Members of the funeral procession were shocked to know that the forest firewood outlet had gone dry and there was no fire-wood at the cremation ground. Dead body had to be kept waiting for a long time for want of firewood.

They ran from one cremation ground to other for firewood but they had to return empty handed, disappointed and disgruntled. Those at the Shastri Nagar Cremation Ground refused to provide fire wood on the plea that they had just a few quintals of wood left with them. Finally, the family had to plead with saw mill owners and a private wood outlet which provided them the requisite firewood for performing the last rites of the old lady. Then last rites were delayed by more than 4 hours.

Similar problems are being faced by people on the other cremation grounds across Jammu city with forest department claiming of being short of supply. However, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Jammu Roshan Jaggi denied that there was any shortage of firewood on the cremation grounds across Jammu city. “We have supplied enough firewood to all the cremation grounds to meet the demand. The only issue is with Channi Himmat cremation ground where the Sewa Samiti members have taken firewood in credit. They are yet to make the payment for the same. We have been pleading with them to make the payments,” said Jaggi.

He added that DFO Jammu did not report him about the matter. He assured to hold inquiry into the lapse on the part of junior officers while adding that cremation grounds of Jammu city will be provide adequate fire-wood and this problem will be resolved  but the public at large should also cooperate by making timely payment of the firewood purchased from the forest department. “We have to deposit the money in the state treasury,” added Jaggi.

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