SAMBALPUR: With most of the Puja committees openly defying the idol immersion rules, Sambalpur Municipal Corporation (SMC) has warned of stern action against the violators.
SMC Commissioner Lingaraj Panda said, “Puja committees had been given prior information to use artificial ponds for immersion of Durga idols. Non-compliance of the order amounts to violation of law.”
Panda further said the enforcement provisions are very stringent and if need arises, hefty fines will be imposed on violators. Besides, they will be barred from organising Durga Puja in future. “If we get any evidence against violators this year, they will be served notice,” he said.
To deter people from immersing Durga idols in natural water bodies and prevent pollution of Mahanadi river, the SMC had created four artificial ponds at Putibandh, Durgapali, Hirakud and Burla town. Nearly `30,000 was spent on construction of each pond as per the guidelines of State Pollution Control Board.
However, the artificial ponds have failed to serve their purpose with most of the Puja committees in the city opting to immerse idols in Mahanadi. This year, as many as 57 Puja pandals had come up in the city. Besides, Durga idols were also worshipped at several smaller venues.
While more than 100 Durga idols will be immersed by Friday, the artificial ponds seems to have found no takers in the last two days. Sources said lack of awareness was the reason behind people not using the artificial ponds. This apart, old Puja committees, which are opposed to the idea of SMC, are planning to immerse the idols in Mahanadi as per their past practices.
On the other hand, Puja committees denied of being informed about the ponds by the SMC. A member of Dhanupali Puja committee on conditions of anonymity said, “We are not aware of the artificial ponds and the SMC has not called us for any meeting on the matter. Like the past, we will immerse the idol at Putibandh this year too.”
Sources said the committees like Gobindtola and Dhukupada, which have been organising Durga Puja for decades, will also immerse their idols in Mahanadi.