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March 8, 2012

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Low-priced tomb offer shunned

ALTHOUGH Shanghai has been offering low-priced tombs for local people for three years, take-up has been less than expected, authorities said yesterday.

Some locals say the small size of the tombs and use of biodegradable urns are a disrespect to the deceased.

Thousands of the cheaper tombs have been built but only several hundred sold, said the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau. It has planned for 25,000 such tombs. Officials say these are a less expensive option for low-income families and are more environmentally friendly. The plots are often marked by just a simple stone and urns are biodegradeable.

Each tomb occupies less than 1 square meter and costs around 1,000 yuan (US$158). Standard tombs cost between 20,000 and 200,000 yuan.

But many families are reluctant to opt for the cut-price option. "They told us that the urns are biodegradable, which made us feel uncomfortable," said Ruan Xiaocong, who chose a tomb for her father a year ago. "My father would no longer be there."

Now the bureau is to issue certificates to family members who buy low-priced tombs, expressing gratitude for their help in protecting the environment.


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