Telangana government in a bind over court orders and religious sentiments

Deccan Chronicle.  | Aarti Kashyap

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The immersion plans are still in the pipeline although the festival is just three weeks away.( Representational image/DC)

HYDERABAD: This year’s Ganesh festival that starts on August 31 will be a litmus test for the authorities in implementing the High Court orders with regard to immersion of idols in the city lakes. This is more so as the police, the Pollution Control Board (PCB), HMDA and GHMC will have to work as a cohesive unit to implement the order, and there is tremendous pressure from the festival organising committee to continue with immersions in water bodies.  

The High Court on July 21 directed that Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols could not be immersed in lakes, including Hussainsagar, and that a separate arrangement for the same should be made.  However, the Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Committee has made it clear that it will continue with the practice of earlier years.

By all accounts, this year’s immersion could also be significant because of political overtones. This is because the BJP has been quite aggressive in hitting out at the state government, making it difficult for the latter to strike a balance between following the court orders and catering to religious sentiments of the people.

As far as the baby ponds and the artificial immersion tanks are concerned, no information is available with the PCB, HMDA or the GHMC. The immersion plans are still in the pipeline although the festival is just three weeks away. That way, they are literally racing against time.

PCB officials said that work on artificial ponds was in progress as they were working in tandem with the GHMC. HMDA officials said that artificial immersion tanks would be installed across the city.

“Around eight such tanks, including five in Khairatabad zone, are coming up at different locations, although they are yet to be finalised.” informed officials.

Additional commissioner of police D.S. Chauhan said “We will plan the immersions as per the guidelines and decisions of the High Court. We are expecting a larger turnout this year due to the fall in Covid cases. The immersion exercise will be complicated this time because of segregation of PoP and clay idols. We have to ensure that only PoP idols are immersed in baby ponds.”

GHMC commissioner Lokesh Kumar was not available to provide information or data with regard to the civic body’s preparedness.