BHUBANESWAR: The State government has framed new rules to check water pollution caused by idol immersion. The Odisha Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (Procedure for Immersion of Idol after Pujas) Rules, 2021 prescribe a slew of measures for idol makers and puja committees. The rules have been prepared in compliance with the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), revised guidelines of idol immersion by the Central Pollution Control Board and in line with West Bengal Prevention and Control of Water Pollution Rules.
As per the draft rules, large-scale idol manufacturers involved in making more than 100 idols a day will have to obtain registration from the local body concerned on deposit of registration fee as decided by the body depending on the idol-making capacity. The idols are required to be made from natural, biodegradable, eco-friendly raw materials without the use of any toxic, inorganic raw materials like traditional virtuous clay and mud. Use of Plaster of Paris (POP), plastic and thermocol (polystyrene) in idol making and toxic and non-biodegradable chemical dyes, oil paints and synthetic dye-based paints for the painting of the idols have been banned.
The height of the superstructure of the idol will be limited to 40 feet and the idol to 20 feet. Registered idol makers will be liable for violation if they fail to comply with the norms. They will be prohibited from making idols for two years by the local bodies concerned and levied a penalty. Every puja committee will have to ensure that they construct only eco-friendly idols or procure them from the registered idol makers.
The rules framed by the Forest, Environment and Climate Change department mandated the use of cleaned multi-use metallic or glass or plastic utensils, biodegradable plates, biodegradable paper cups/plates and earthen pots in place of single-use plastic and thermocol for ‘prasad’ distribution and other purposes. Authorities of ULBs and the districts will identify and arrange an adequate number of designated temporary or artificial immersion ponds or tanks in the close vicinity of the public colonies to avoid overcrowding at water bodies and also to reduce pollution. The regional offices of State Pollution Control Board have been communicated with the new rules and asked to make puja committees aware of them for effective implementation.