Telangana HC bars immersion of PoP idols in lakes

This decision was based on the understanding that preparations for immersion had already been finalised, making it challenging for the State to make alternative arrangements at the last moment.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

HYDERABAD: A bench of the Telangana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice NV Shravan Kumar, on Friday, directed the State government to take immediate action to prevent the immersion of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) or any other harmful materials into lakes, particularly the Hussainsagar.

Notably, the court did not impose any restrictions on the sculpting or sale of Ganesh idols made of PoP by local artisans. Instead, it specifically focuses on the immersion process, directing the State government to prevent immersion of such idols in the Hussainsagar or any other lake.

To address this, the court instructed the State government to utilise the 25 baby ponds developed within the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits for the purpose of Ganesh idol immersion. The court was hearing a clutch of writ petitions filed in response to a PIL, raising the issue of severe pollution caused by the immersion of such idols. The PIL said that such immersions have pushed several lakes in Telangana to the brink of extinction.

The issue had previously led to legal action, with a bench of the High Court on September 9, 2021, prohibiting the immersion of PoP idols in the Hussainsagar. However, the Supreme Court had allowed the State to proceed with immersion in 2021 due to logistical constraints but strictly barred any future immersions in the Hussainsagar from 2022.

This decision was based on the understanding that preparations for immersion had already been finalised, making it challenging for the State to make alternative arrangements at the last moment. On Friday, the bench emphasised that its previous orders issued on July 21, 2022, remain in force. It warned that any violations of these orders could result in contempt of court proceedings. Underlining its commitment to taking the issue of water body pollution seriously, the court adjourned the matter to September 25, 2023.

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