Finally, Gir villagers get crematorium
Sasan-Gir(Junagadh) : High drama ensued for eight hours, when nearly 1,300 mourners from Sasan Gir carried the body of Ravji Makwana,70, to the range forest office here, on Tuesday.
The villagers had sought 1,000 metre of land for a crematorium near the village, which went unheeded. Not having a proper burial or a crematorium spot, they usually performed last month, they gave an ultimatum, that they would bury or cremate their next dead in the forest office premises itself.
So, when an elder man Ravji died on Tuesday morning, they promptly took the funeral procession to the office located in the village.
Officials tried to prevent them, but the villagers did not budge and stood their ground. Range forest officer B K Parmar finally conceded and spoke to his superiors. The villagers had also spoken to conservator of forests, Ramesh Katara. The intervention of Jasubhai Barad, MP and his discussion with chief conservator of forests Pradip Khanna, stalled the stalemate. It was resolved that a team of revenue and forest officials would soon meet and sort out the issue and allot a suitable site for the crematorim.
Unofficial sources, however, said that this unseemly row was the outcome of a long-standing tussle between revenue and forest departments. Sasan, being forest area, the forest department wanted to lord it over and deny any say to the revenue department.
Irked by this snub, some revenue officials prompted the villagers to prick the forest department. Thus a subtle departmental row erupted into a funereal saga in this quiet solitude of Sasan-Gir.