It was thought the city bid adieu to Ganesha and everyone was glued to the TV on Sunday watching the duels between T activists and police live. But what seems to have escaped everyone’s notice was that a number of idols were still in the queue up till late afternoon from Tank Bund to Basheerbagh waiting to be immersed in Hussain Sagar.
At the stroke of dawn, police blocked most of the routes leading to the Necklace Road, including the NTR Marg, citing the Telangana March later in the day at Sanjeevaiah Park.
The result was that the entire stretch from Tank Bund to Basheerbagh was crowded with more than 100 huge Ganesh idols. Devotees who brought the idols for immersion from different parts of the city simply slept on the trucks as there was nothing much they could do.
“The unexpected rain last night and the traffic chaos have led to the delay in immersion process, but the main reason is the blocking of the NTR Marg on Sunday morning,” fumed Sudhakar, a resident of the Old City. He had been tossing on a truck next to a massive idol near the Liberty Circle since late Sunday night.
There were others, though, who took it in their stride and sought to enjoy the moment and even defended the cops. “This year, there are more idols and a maximum of them had to be immersed in Hussain Sagar only,” reasoned Gopal G from Gowliguda.
The idols were stranded on the route till at least 4 p.m. For the officials, this was a nightmare. With the bio-diversity conference beginning Monday and foreign delegates expected to explore the city, they had planned to clear debris from Hussain Sagar — a natural attraction for tourists — Sunday night itself.
However, thanks to the Telangana march and the police restrictions, the civic authorities — the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) — threw up their hands in despair.
Their plan of immersion and simultaneous clean up operations remained on paper. Huge amount of debris was either floating on Hussain Sagar or was stacked up on its banks. Not a pretty sight the planners had in mind for the foreign delegates.
A senior GHMC official on condition of anonymity said, “We are doing our best to clear the debris but as the road has been blocked due to the Telangana March, there is a delay. But on the Tank Bund side, trucks were deployed for simultaneous removal of debris. And the delay in immersion has delayed the removal of debris.” The official however, sounded confident that all the debris would be removed Sunday night itself as against the week-long time taken usually.
The GHMC and HMDA authorities had earlier said that elaborate arrangements were made to simultaneously remove the debris in view of the international conference. However, only two Dredge Utility Craft (DUC) vehicles were seen on the banks of the lake near NTR Marg on Sunday while dozens of idols were still being immersed on the other side of the lake at Tank Bund.
The railings around the Hussain Sagar and even footpaths were damaged during immersion and one can only wonder how beautiful the lake and its surroundings would look once the T heat subsides and normalcy is restored.