The implementation of the ban isn't completely unsuccessful as several sellers on Pottery Road and RV Road refuse to sell PoP ones. A Ganesh idol of around 10 to 12 ft costs around Rs 18,000-25,000, informs a seller on Pottery Road, where shopkeepers swear by the use of clay. "I don't want to do anything illegal and then end up in jail," informs one seller, who refused to share his name. However, another, who requested anonymity said that while the exterior is of clay mixed with paper, the inside base structure is in fact PoP. Some of the Ganeshas wear a fine finish, which could only be done with PoP, but sellers on Pottery Road claim that they have been made with paper and clay.
Naveen Kumar, an idol seller with a unit on Mysuru Road, near RV College says that unaware of the decision, he had made 1,500 PoP Ganeshas for Bengaluru this year. "Every day close to 15 mandalis, call me, asking for PoP Ganeshas, but I am not selling in Bengaluru. Why take the risk and tension," he says, adding that he will be selling 1,000 idols to Tamil Nadu and 200 to Kerala clients.
Naveen makes Ganesha idols from clay and cardboard powder. He isn't a fan of the new mix though and prefers PoP. "In these idols, the head blows off from the neck in transport. I had no such problems with PoP," he laments, adding that he uses vegetable dyes. However, it isn't difficult to miss the synthetic sparkle on the idols in his unit.
There are those like Santhosh Kumar, an idol seller on RV Road, who is willing to risk a sale outside Bengaluru. "I have around 12 of them but I won't sell in Bengaluru... anywhere outside like Mysuru is possible," he says. City Express asks for sample photos of PoP idols and he sends a bunch to pick from through WhatsApp.
It is nearly impossible to stop all traders, so KSPCB is conducting awareness programmes near temples, asking people to opt for clay idols. The implementation part of the prohibition falls under BBMP's jurisdiction and with no raids on PoP units so far, KSPCB doesn't seem happy with the way things are going. “The penalty on selling PoP idols decided by the local body is very nominal,” says Lakshman, who adds that his office will carry out a check on the quality of water at the immersion sites after the festival.