Delhi: Idol-makers must register with civic bodies
Authorities in Delhi will try to stop idols made of toxic materials from going into the Yamuna not just during immersion but at the manufacturing stage itself.
The north and east Delhi municipal corporations, following the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) orders, have published advertisements asking craftsmen making idols for Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja to mandatorily register with the civic bodies.
The artisans would have to disclose the address of their factory or idol-making unit, details of material they plan to use and the estimated number of idols they will make in a form.
“These forms have to be submitted by the craftsmen to the zonal deputy commissioners (DCs) of the municipalities after which their facilities will be regularly inspected to see they use only eco-friendly material,” a senior municipal official said.
“After this, idol-making cottage industries mushrooming anywhere -- like near Akshardham, in Saket and Burari -- will not happen. A lot of them were able to sell idols at low rates only because they were made of cheap material, which is not environment friendly,” he said.
Those running without registration will be shut down, the corporation officials said.
“The DPCC (Delhi Pollution Control Committee) has asked us to ensure the heights of idols don’t go above five feet.We will make artisans aware of this at their registered facilities, and if they don’t comply, we will fine them accordingly,” said Pradeep Khandelwal, chief engineer, East Delhi Municipal Corporation.
This is part of an elaborate action plan prepared by DPCC to regulate the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP), chemicals, glitter and synthetic paints.
An estimated 5,000 idols are immersed in the 22-km Yamuna river in Delhi during Ganesh Chaturthi itself, turning the river into a milky concoction with high levels of levels of metals such as chromium, iron and nickle.
In September 2009, the NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan collected garbage from just one point in the river -- the Nizamuddin bridge -- after Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja and retrieved 2,010 kilos of polybags, paper, cloth, glass, earthen pots and organic waste, 300 paintings and 250 idols.
Immersions take place at least in six other ghats -- Kudsia Ghat and Geeta Ghat at ISBT, Shyam Ghat at Jagatpur, Hathi Ghat at ITO, Jaitpur and Geeta Colony.
The municipal corporations have been asked to create artificial ponds where smaller idols could be immersed, and the waste water will be sent to sewage treatment plants (STPs) for treatment.