BHUBANESWAR: River water pollution due to immersion of idols continues to be a major concern during the festive season. However, measures adopted by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to prevent puja committees from immersing idols in rivers on City outskirts have turned out to be inadequate and ineffective.
During the recently concluded Ganesh Puja and Vishwakarma Puja, more than 1,000 committees had obtained licence from City police for observing the festivals. The two artificial ponds, constructed on the banks of Kuakhai and Daya rivers by BMC, were smaller in size and did not serve the purpose after immersion of a dozen idols.
The puja ‘medhas’, which followed, took the easier route to immersion. Idols were directly dropped into Daya and Kuakhai rivers from the bridge. The devotees went on to justify the act by saying the artificial ponds meant for immersion were dirty and clogged.
Contacted, Member of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) Hadibandhu Panigrahi said the incidence of idol immersion in Kuakhai and Daya rivers will be looked into.
In a Corporation meeting held two days back, preparatory measures for the ensuing Durga Puja were top on agenda. Like always, the BMC came up with ambitious plans to keep the rivers pollution free and decided to create artificial ponds for immersion of idols. With the civic body’s previous plans to check river pollution yielding no results, it remains to be seen how the civic body manages to tackle the menace.
Mayor AN Jena, however, assured that during this Durga Puja season, strict enforcement will be put in place to ensure that no idols or marquee are immersed in the rivers.
“Last year during Durga Puja, the Municipal Corporation ensured the full usage of artificial ponds. Similar steps will be adopted this year too,” Jena said.
Environmental scientists are of the opinion that though artificial ponds have helped in minimising river pollution, more such water bodies should be created keeping in mind the increase in number of puja committees.