BENGALURU: With the aim of promoting an environment-friendly Ganesha festival, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has directed deputy commissioners of all districts and panchayat development officers to ensure complete ban on use of idols made from Plaster of Paris (PoP). Ganesha festival will be celebrated on August 25.
However, idol makers are in a tight spot as they have already started work on PoP idols. This year, idol makers even approached the High Court, filing a PIL against the KSPCB ban. “The court upheld our ban notice and directed us to ensure it is implemented,” a senior KSPCB official said. Based on this, KSPCB issued a circular to all DCs and gram panchayat heads a few months ago. A new circular will be issued again.
In order to ensure PoP idols are not brought from other states, KSPCB has also issued instructions to DCs to increase vigil at checkposts. “We often get complaints that Plaster of Paris idols are transported from neighbouring states such as Mumbai and Gujarat. This time, we will take the help of police to stop this,” the official added.
Last year, BBMP had made space to immerse idols in 35 tanks. They also made arrangements for 185 mobile tanks. “This year, we were told to increase the number of mobile tanks and not to allow immersion of PoP idols,” a BBMP official said.
KSPCB Chairman Lakshman told Express that last year they could achieve 50 per cent of the ban. “Now that we have High Court backup, we want to achieve 100 per cent. We have been getting requests from idol makers to allow use of old stock of PoP idols. We will not allow sale of any PoP idols,” he said. He added that they were creating awareness on use of eco-friendly idols.
Srirama (name changed), who has been making idols for years, said, “Last year, we made PoP idols which are still in stock. We will abide by the rule and make clay idols. But what about our investment?” he asked. He addded that with clay it is difficult to make big idols. Many organisations prefer large idols.
Environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy said civic bodies make provisions near lakes to immerse idols, but this disturbs aquatic life.
KSPCB and urban local bodies faced resistance from some religious heads. “They said KSPCB should not interfere in religious matters and that the ban should be lifted,” a KSPCB official said.
KSPCB will conduct free workshops for public on how to make clay Ganesha idols
If residents come across any PoP idols being sold or made,call 080-25588151 to complain