Shiv Sena executive president, Uddhav Thackeray, along with representatives for Ganesh idol makers in the state will soon meet chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and ask him to clarify the state government’s opinion on the usage of Ganesh idols made of plaster of Paris (PoP).
This according to the Sena has not only hurt Hindu sentiments but has also become a problem for artisans who thrive on this art for their living.
Over three lakh Ganesh idols are brought into homes and over 25,000 public Ganesh mandals host big idols in the city.
The decision taken by the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court on Tuesday imposed a total ban on PoP idols.
The court asked artisans to use soil and natural colours while making the idols failing which they will face criminal proceedings.
“It is strange that the same people who are talking of pollution caused because of the immersion do not care much when chemicals from several factories keep polluting the water everyday,” Thackeray said.
“Where was justice when warkaris protested against a factory being built along the river Indrayani near Pune? At that time deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar did not help them,” he added..
Thackeray also questioned why only Hindu festivals were being targeted as far as the environment is concerned.
“Why is the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (an organisation working against orthodox practices), which filed this suit, not concerned about implementing the court judgement that calls for a ban of loudspeakers on masjids?" Thackeray said.
“There are 25 lakh PoP idols which are ready. Also, 10 PoP idols take a maximum of three days to get ready while a single idol made of soil takes around 25 days,” said Gajanan Tondwalkar, president of Mumbai Murtikar Sangh.
“If the government wants us to implement this rule, then our traditional artisans should be provided space to run workshops all year long for Ganesh idols made of soil,” Tondwalkar added.
Srikant Deodhar, who represents the artisans of Pen, a town based about 75 km from Mumbai, which specialises in the art of making Ganesh idols said, “We have paperwork to show that the gypsum material we use, which is loosely referred to as PoP does not have any effect on the environment,” Deodhar said.