The Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (Mans) has slammed the civic administration for its failure to make adequate arrangements to avoid water pollution during the Ganesh immersion. It also claimed instructions of the Maharashtra pollution control board (MPCB) and the judiciary were overlooked by the government.
Mans founder, Narendra Dabholkar, told reporters on Thursday the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) did construct tanks on the banks of the river, but that was all. “Arrangements should have been made to collect Ganesh idols and later dispose of them properly,” he said.
Many people would have given away the idols if decorated trucks were arranged to collect them. The tanks were insufficient and were full very soon. People were not left with any choice but to immerse their idols in the river, he added.
There were no boards appealing to people to immerse the idols in tanks to avoid pollution, he said, adding the civic body was careless about implementation of instructions of the MPCB on avoiding water pollution.
“Even in the chief minister’s district, Satara, the situation was pathetic. When the water level in Krishna river in the district went down, the idols were seen lying on river banks, which were gathered by the municipal corporation and again put in the river,” he added.
In Nashik, 28 immersion spots were prepared to avoid pollution of the Godavari, which flows through the middle of the city.
Government employees were absent. People kept the idols on river banks, which were collected by the vehicles of the civic body.
As many as 73,809 idols were collected; yet more than half of the idols from the city went into the Godavari, according to Dabholkar.
The arrangements were the best in Kolhapur, where 60% of the idols were handed over to the government employees for immersion. No idols were immersed in the Rankala lake and Koti Tirth tanks in the city.
Posters were put up by the Hindu Janjagran Samiti asking people to immerse idols in flowing water, while members of the MPCB were seen nowhere, said Dabholkar. “Despite government directives about setting up district-level committees to supervise proper immersion, no such committee was active anywhere in the state,” he alleged.
“The Nagpur civic body has banned idols of plaster of Paris. Why can’t other civic bodies too start preparing early for eco-friendly immersion? Where is the system to implement eco-friendly measures? Who is to be held responsible?” he asked.
He claimed the Maharashtra Kumbhar Mahasangh, association of potters, has stated that even big idols can be created from mud and green material. “Yet, we do not want to press for a green Ganeshotsav. The government has to look into this,” he added.