NEW DELHI: Following in the footsteps of West Bengal, Durga Puja pandals in the national capital are adopting unique themes, most of which are focused around the environment.
With the theme ‘Save Water to Save You’, the Arambagh Puja Samiti in Punchkuian Road, is highlighting the global crisis of water in its 31st edition.
“For the past one year we have been conceptualizing the idea and we were determined to implement it this year. We even made a presentation to the Ministry of Jal Shakti on our pandal,” said Abhijeet Ghosh, Chairperson, Arambagh Puja Committee.
Another pandal, by Milani Durga Puja association in Mayur Vihar Phase 1 has opted for the theme ‘Save Earth’.
“How can we save earth, why we need to plant more trees, water conservation, solar energy – we have clubbed all these issues in our puja this year. The main entrance of the pandal is inspired from 5 elements of nature — Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth,” said Mrinal Kanti Biswas, General Secretary, Miloni Club MV Phase 1.
Following the orders of National Green Tribunal, the Delhi government made it mandatory for puja organisers not to immerse idols in Yamuna anymore.
In 2018, post the festival season a test was conducted on Yamuna water and it was found that harmful chemicals such as concentrations of chromium, lead, nickel and mercury were present.
For the purpose of immersion, artificial ponds were made during Ganesh Chaturthi celebration and the same have been adopted for the Durga Puja as well. However, the Puja committees are not pleased with the concept of artificial ponds.
“We have repeatedly requested the Delhi govt to create the same artificial pond near Yamuna. We are not in support of polluting the river anymore. But we have the tradition of taking an immersion procession, this has been followed for so long. Our idol is 15 feet tall and would need more space for immersion,” said Ghosh who is also the member of Joint Procession Committee.
Robin Bose, Secretary, Kashmere Gate Durga Puja said immersion in artificial pond will bring an end to their 110-year old custom.
“It is known to all that our immersion procession is different from rest, we take the idol on bullock cart which is a unique identity of our committee. We have requested for an alternative and yet to get a final decision from DM,” Bose added.
According to the committee a report was presented to the Delhi government in which it was stated that the Durga puja idols are constructed from plaster of paris.
“Durga idols are always created from clay and hay. Ganesh idols are made of plaster of paris. The report on river pollution should be prepared after Ganesh Visarjan and Durga Puja immersion separately and then the picture will be clear,” added Bose.
GK 2 Durgotsav committee member Samir Banerjee said that the committee that has been formed to create artificial pond lacks clarity in execution plan.