MUMBAI: The 10-day-long mega-festival ended on Thursday across Maharashtra as the devotees bid a grand farewell to Lord Ganesh by immersing the idols. However, the deity of intellect would be educating thousands in Mumbai in the form of chalks as the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) deployed a ‘baking agent’ to digest Plaster of Paris (POP) in order to curb idol pollution of water bodies in the city.
Every year the civic bodies across the state provide artificial tanks with ammonium bicarbonate solution to immerse POP idols in an eco-friendly way. This year, in addition to tanks, the BMC has provided a baking agent, to ensure the idols return to two elements that can be safely re-used. While the POP from idols remains in form of sludge at the base of water bodies, scientists from the Pune based National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) have suggested ways to segregate the water with sulphate, which can be used as a fertilizer for plants and the sludge can then be recycled as chalks or as raw material in cement factories.
This year BMC placed such tanks at three immersion sites along Worli sea front.
The immersion processions of idols of various mandals started at around noon Mumbai, while in Pune it started at around 2 pm. The procession of idols is expected to be wound up in around five hours in Pune due to intelligence inputs regarding security risk. However, the zeal and enthusiasm on the occasion of ‘Anant Chaturdashi’ remained unfazed and rains too couldn’t dampen spirits.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra, who along with his family celebrates the festival every year at his official residence in Mumbai, also performed puja before proceeding for the immersion of their eco-friendly Ganesh idol.
In Mumbai, Ganesh idols were immersed till noon at 129 places, a civic official said. More than 50,000 police personnel have been deployed across the metropolis to ensure that Ganesh idol immersion processions pass off without any untoward incident, the processions will also be continuously monitored by over 5,000 CCTV cameras, an official said.
In Pune, more than 8,000 personnel have been deployed to guard the immersion processions while 169 CCTV cameras and drones have been installed to keep an eye on immersion procession, said Pune Police Commissioner K Venkatesham.
Several Ganesh mandals contributed funds to help those affected by floods, particularly in Kolhapur and Sangli districts.