Mumbai: The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday said it planned to convert in phases all its 44 wood or electricity consuming crematoria across the metropolis to piped natural gas (PNG)-based complexes. The novel cost-effective move will help in huge savings on electricity bills, besides protecting trees and environment, said BMC Executive Health Officer Padmaja Keskar. The BMC at present manages 44 crematoria, of which 11 are run on electricity, and 14 Muslim and 11 Christian cemeteries, at 54 locations across Mumbai. In the first phase, work on converting the Sion and Shivaji Park electric crematoria to PNG is nearing completion, Keskar said. Keskar said normally electric crematorium can take up to two hours to heat to its optimal capacity, and hence has to be kept running round the clock. Besides, these crematoria have also to be regularly shut for maintenance, and incur huge maintenance costs. The Mumbai civic corporation plans to convert 12 crematoria to PNG-based in the first phase, nine in the second and the remaining 23 subsequently. PNG-powered crematoria instantly heat up to optimal capacity once switched on and have not to be run continuously. This will help reduce running and maintenance costs. There are also 20 private crematoria for Hindus, and 56 Muslim and 37 Christian cemeteries, besides seven other locations to perform funereal rites for the dead belonging to various communities in Mumbai.