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Delhi’s ‘little Kolkata’ shows the way, not to immerse Durga Puja idols in Yamuna

At least six Durga Puja Samitis in south Delhi’s CR Park and areas around have agreed to immerse idols in a pond to be built in Raisina Bengali School

delhi Updated: Sep 06, 2017 16:58 IST
Ritam Halder
Ritam Halder
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Durga Puja,Yamuna,CR Park
Locals scavenge for the remains of idols in the Yamuna after Durga Puja in New Delhi on October 12, 2016.(Ravi Choudhary/HT File Photo)

This Durga Puja in Chittaranjan Park, a Bengali colony in south Delhi, residents will do their bit for river Yamuna.

After Delhi government proposed that the idols of goddess Durga be immersed in a pond created in the colony instead of the dying river, at least six Puja Samitis have come on board. The government has now decided to dig a pond in the playground of a government-aided school in the area for immersions on the last day of the Puja.

Area MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj said he has had a meeting with organisers of 12 pujas in CR Park - often referred to as mini-Kolkata - and neighbouring areas such as, Greater Kailash I and II and Alaknanda. Since the school will be closed from September 26, digging for the pond can start from the next day. Durga Puja this year will be celebrated from September 26-30. Revellers from across Delhi and NCR visit CR Park for the Puja - a Bengali Hindu festival celebrated in honour of goddess Durga.

“We have found a site at Raisina Bengali School opposite the office of East Pakistan Displaced Person (EPDP) Association,” AAP spokesperson and Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj told Hindustan Times. As per the initial proposal, artificial ponds were to be built on Delhi Jal Board land in GK II and CR Park.

Bhardwaj said that a steering committee has already been formed for immersion site at the school and a representative of every puja committee in the area is a part of it. The steering committee will decide on time slots for immersion for different organisers so that any congestion because of immersion processions can be avoided.

The temporary pond will be dismantled after the immersions on September 30.

Organisers such as Milan Samiti, E Block, D Block, Cooperative and GK II are already on board with the idea. B Block and Pocket 52 have already been doing this in their own compounds. Organisers in Alaknanda and Kalkaji may also come on board, the MLA said.

A few organisers such as the Mela Ground Puja Samiti and Nabapally, however, haven’t agreed to the proposal. One of the Mela Ground puja organisers said it was not logistically possible for them to immersion the idol at a site in CR Park. “Our idols are 15-16 feet in height. You need an enclosure for immersion that is over 20-feet wide. How do we get that here? We can’t dig up our grounds. We will go to the Yamuna for immersion,” Shekhar Guha of the Mela Ground committee had earlier said.

Idols from nearly 200 Durga Pujas from across Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad are immersed at different Yamuna ghats every year.

The National Green Tribunal in 2015 had banned immersion of idols made from non-biodegradable material such as quick-setting gypsum plaster, also known as Plaster of Paris, or plastic in the Yamuna.

It had said that idol immersion should be done from a designated place so that the river doesn’t get polluted. The bench said it cannot allow the river to get polluted and hence, in an earlier order, prohibited throwing of puja material from anywhere but designated ghats.

First Published: Sep 06, 2017 15:30 IST