In a bid to save and revive the largest lake and natural reservoir of Haryana, the district administration has banned idol immersion in Damdama Lake.
Every year, thousands of devotees come to the lake in Sohna to immerse idols during festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja. But, considering the environment hazards posed by Plaster of Paris (PoP) and chemicals in paint used on idols, the administration has decided against the yearly practice.
“The immersion of idols leaves a long lasting effect on the ecosystem of the water bodies because of chemicals and PoP used to make the idols. The administration is making a lot of efforts to revive water bodies, especially Damdama Lake, which is one of the biggest lakes in the state, from depleting. So, immersion of any idol is banned,” an official of the district administration said.
The administration has also put up a sign board saying ‘Don’t immerse idols in the Lake’ on the road leading to the reservoir.
However, devotees say they have little or no options for immersing idols in Gurgaon. While most of them are heading to water bodies in other parts of Delhi-NCR, some people are conducting rituals at small artificial ponds at the local temples.
“We immersed Ganesha’s idol at a temple near our home on Golf Course Road. There is a small pond there. The priest did the puja for us. We had gone to Damdama Lake but returned disappointed after the locals denied permission to immerse the idol,” Shreyasi Shingatgeri of South City 2 said.
“We will be going to the Yamuna Ghats for the immersion. The idol is made of organic materials so we are not worried,” Vaishnavee Mulay, a college student, said.
A few devotees, however, said the administration should allow immersion of idols made of the organic material. Residents said they paid special attention to the material being used so that the environment impacts are minimal.
“The organisers paid special attention to the material being used in the idols. It is a positive step to stop people using chemicals, but why us? We are having a meetings soon to decide where we can go for the immersion of over 80 Ganesha idols of different shapes and sizes,” Yashdip Pawar of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti said.