NRIs protest rise in UK cremation charge
A rise in the fee for cremation in Leicester has raised the hackles of Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities in the east Midlands town with a large minority of Indian origin.
The local council proposes to increases the fee from 500 pounds to 610 pounds per cremation. The rise of 110 pounds is due to the 'environment levy' proposed to be charged for every cremation.
The extra charge will also help offset the council's plan to replace the four cremators installed in 2000 and to increase chapel seating capacity.
Parmjit Singh Gill, a city councillor, said: "There hasn't been enough consultation on this price rise. I do think that some faith groups will be particularly affected by these rises."
Mukesh Naker, from Leicester-based pressure group British Hindu Voice, said: "Cremation rites are an important and integral part of Hindu, Sikh and Jain custom so such a proposal would have a massive impact on these communities".
He told the local media: "Despite several pledges by city councillors and officers to consult Leicester's vast Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities, it now appears that a decision to push through the proposals without a formal consultation has been made".
Naker said the Hindus, Jains and Sikhs had consistently made a positive contribution to Leicester's economic and social well-being, but now felt 'extremely let' down by the council.
"While we welcome improvement works to the crematorium, we feel we should not be ignored on this issue," he said.
A city council spokesman said: "No decision has been made on the cremation charges. They are due to be considered by cabinet in August."