The civic body may boast of an increased number of Ganesh idols being immersed in artificial ponds this year, which prevented pollution of natural water bodies, but in reality the BMC has failed to improve its tally when compared to the last two years.
This year, of the total of 2,00,065 idols immersed during the festival, 15,255 were immersed in artificial ponds set up by the civic body. The civic body had encouraged people to use these ponds, throughout the festival.
However, going by the figure provided by the BMC, only 7.62% of the total idols were immersed in these ponds. In 2011, of the 1,86,595 idols, 13,829 idols were immersed in ponds, which is 7.41%. While in 2010, 7.25% idols were immersed in artificial ponds. The miniscule hike in the percentage over the last three years shows that the civic body’s move has not been such a success despite several arrangements and promises prior to the festival.
As per the guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the local civic administration is responsible for setting up a mechanism to prevent the pollution of water bodies because of idol immersions. But the BMC seems not to have followed the guidelines effectively.
Deputy municipal commissioner, Zone II, Dr Kishor Kshirsagar, accepted that for the past three years the percentage has remained static. “This year some ponds received tremendous response, while a few did not. In certain areas, such was the response that the ponds had to be shut and people forced to immerse the idol in a natural water body,” he said. Kshirsagar said the civic body would make proper arrangements in 2013.
Avinash Patil, executive president, Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti who had met Mayor Sunil Prabhu to ask him not to construct ponds, said, “Once a pond gets filled with the immersed idols, it cannot be used further. That’s why we had asked the civic body to not construct ponds, but ask devotees to donate the idols.”