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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

‘We have a responsibility towards our natural resources’

  Updated: Sep 22, 2019 22:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustantimes
         

IDOL IMMERSION Ramakrishna Math president urges Durga Puja committees to look for amicable and acceptable solutions

President of Ramakrishna Math, Swami Mukhtinathananda, appealed to various Durga Puja committees to look for “amicable and acceptable solutions” for eco-friendly immersion of Durga idols.

The Math has already decided not to immerse Goddess Durga’s idol in river Gomti after the five-day celebrations.

“River Gomti should be protected and we have to find out alternatives,” he said during a meeting with puja committees on Sunday.

“We too have a responsibility towards our natural resources. The onus is on members of Durga Puja committees to come out with amicable and acceptable solutions by holding fruitful discussions with the district administration and find an answer to Durga idol immersion issue,” said Swami Mukhtinathananda.

Citing HT’s report on Sunday ‘Breaking a 48-year-old tradition to save Gomti’, Swami said: “We have to change our mindset, immersion should not happen in Gomti.”

Former DGP, Anand Lal Banerjee, urged puja committees to carry out idol immersion under legal framework.

“Let’s not hurt the sentiments of others, let us not pollute river water and let us also not make it a political issue. We want the administration to tell us in advance the arrangements it has put in place for idol immersion,” he said.

The Bondhu Mahal Durga Puja Committee members, in a press statement, said they would co-operate with the government in keeping the Gomti clean. “But at the same time, we want that our religious beliefs and rights are honoured,” they said.

“Bondhu Mahal will not recommend ‘dry visarjan’ but will agree for trench visarjan of Maa Durga idol, provided the trenches are of adequate size and give an impression of visarjan,” said BM Chakroborty, secretary of the committee.

“It was heartening to see the puja committees agreeing to Swami Muktinathananda’s appeal not to pollute Gomti and work out alternative immersion methods in conjunction with the district administration,” said Jayant Krishna, who heads the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) in Uttar Pradesh.

He added that the district administration, LDA and Lucknow Municipal Corporation could allow immersion in temporary trenches dug in government lawns/parks where some of the puja pandals are set up.

In addition, the district administration could find alternative areas and create trenches for this purpose.

“The takeaway from the meeting was that puja committees were in sync with the idea that Gomti should not be degraded. They were in favour of collective decision-making with government to find out alternative arrangements,” said Adity Chakravarty, a concerned citizen, who was also present in the meeting.

VOICES

Ramakrishna Math’s decision not to immerse Durga idol in Gomti is a great initiative to keep the river clean. Such decisions are the need of the hour. How to inspire people to protect the river needs to be worked out.

Swami Chidanand Saraswati, president, Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh and founder, Ganga Action Parivar

Our devotion should not lead to destruction of environment. Mother Durga is also Prakriti! We should realise that our rivers are struggling for their survival. With idol immersion in rivers, we add to the ecological damage as fishes and other aquatic lives are badly affected.

Venkatesh Dutta, river expert and associate professor, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow

First Published: Sep 22, 2019 22:03 IST

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