Hyderabad: Just hours before the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations begin, the Telangana High Court directed the state government , GHMC and other authorities not to allow immersion of idols made with plaster of Paris (PoP), and those having synthetic colours and oil paints, either in the Hussainsagar or in any other water body in the city.
The idols are to be immersed in the ‘baby ponds’ constructed over the past few years in the city, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice T. Vinod Kumar said on Thursday
The court also allowed immersion of PoP idols in separate areas which will not result in spread pollution into the main water body.
Officials can explore the use of an inflatable rubber dam used during dredging operations in the Hussainsagar to form pools to immerse the idols.
Immersion of idols shall not be permitted from the Tank Bund side, the court said. The court noted that the Tank Bund had been recently renovated, and immersion of idols by bringing in cranes would result in damage to the new fittings.
Immersion of non-PoP idols which do not have synthetic paint can take place on the other side of the lake, near Sanjeevaiah park and PV Ghat.
The court said its order was the result of the government, the TS Pollution Control Board and GHMC not taking steps to implement the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board on May 12, 2020, which asked all the state PCBs, urban and local authorities to ban the idols made with PoP, to prohibit the use of toxic and non-biodegradable chemical dyes and oil paints for painting idols and to discourage the use of enamel and synthetic dye based paints on idols.
“Apart from distributing clay idols and issuing advisories, the state government, TSPCB, GHMC and HMDA were reluctant to implement the guidelines,” the court said.
The court observed, “They ought to have banned manufacture and sale of PoP Ganesha idols, as the guidelines were issued one year ago, and they had ample time to do so before the festival. Due to their inaction, people who were making their living by producing idols would have purchased materials including PoP and synthetic paints. Thus any direction issued now not to allow sale or use of the idols would hit them hard. However, this court cannot ignore the possible threat of further water pollution to the Hussainsagar and water bodies. So, for the time being, the PoP idols must not allowed for immersion in the water bodies.”
The division bench issued the directives while hearing a contempt case filed by advocate Mamidi Venu Madhav against the government, PCB, GHMC and other departments for not implementing the orders of the court on immersion of Ganesha idols in the Hussainsagar.
The bench also gave directions to the authorities, guidelines to pandal organisers and devotees, which to be followed during the 10 days of the festival in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The GHMC commissioner, the Hyderabad police commissioner, the PCB and related departments were directed to strictly implementation the orders.