Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXXI No. 15, November 16-30, 2021

City gets its first Animal Crematorium

by Varsha Venugopal

Inauguration and Demo of the Crematorium. L to R: Dr. S. Chinny Krishna, Gagandeep Singh Bedi and L. Ganesh.

The Blue Cross of India (BCI) and Chennai Willingdon Corporate Foundation (CWCF) have come together to establish the city’s first dedicated animal crematorium on the Blue Cross campus at Velachery. Built at a cost of Rs. 57 lakhs financed by the CWCF, the facility will help grieving owners bid a dignified goodbye to their pets. “This project has been in the works for a long time,” said Dr. Chinny Krishna, co-founder of the BCI. The subject had, in fact, come up as far back as 1996, when the administration felt the need to set aside a dedicated facility for pets in the city’s burial grounds; however, the work didn’t take off for various reasons. The absence of an animal crematorium was deeply felt by pet owners and animal lovers. As the city’s population grew, many who lived in apartments found themselves with no space to lay their pets in rest. Many were forced to go to the beach to bury their pet; not only did it rob the animal of dignity, but it also posed an environmental and health hazard for the public.

Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi addresing the gathering.

“We did our best to offer support where possible,” said Dr. Chinny Krishna. “We allowed people to bury their pets at the Blue Cross where possible; in fact, I’ve allowed some to bury their pets at my factory and at my home, in a couple of instances. However, this is not a sustainable solution.” The Blue Cross also takes in a large number of injured stray animals and accident cases. Sadly, with no other alternative at hand, the deceased were taken to the Corporation dumping grounds at Kodungaiyur.

It was after the 2015 floods that the topic resurfaced. The CWCF had helped lay a concrete road within the BCI grounds at Velachery; it was at this juncture that N. Sankar, former Chairman of the CWCF, brought up the need for a pet crematorium and offered to aid the project. Dr. Chinny Krishna was happy to take it forward at the Blue Cross. The cremation facility has been built according to the norms stipulated by the National Pollution Control Board; it has been incorporated with an emission treatment system that includes a secondary combustion chamber, wet/dry scrubber and a dilution system. Pet owners can book a slot at the crematorium through the website. They can even perform the last rites if they wish to do so, for the facility also houses a non-denominational shrine. The ashes are handed over after the cremation. While there are no charges attached to the service, the Blue Cross requests a voluntary donation of Rs. 2,500 as a supportive gesture.

Mr. Gagandeep singh unveiling the plaque.

The crematorium was inaugurated by L. Ganesh, Chairman of the CWCF, in the presence of Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Commissioner of the Greater Chennai Corporation. “I have known people who love their pets like children,” he said in his address at the inauguration. ”Once they lose their lives, they would like to cremate or bury them with respect. This initiative will help with that.” The Commissioner also announced plans to build an additional facility at either Kannamapet or Basin Bridge.

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