Plaster of Paris idols: Telangana HC refuses to allow immersion in lakes
Deccan Chronicle| dc correspondent
On one hand, the government spends taxpayers' money on beautification and on the other hand, it wastes the money
The bench asked the state government how it could request the court to allow them to violate laws and provisions related to prevention of water and sound pollution, which were enacted by the legislature several years ago. (DC)
HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Monday refused the requests of the state government and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to modify its order dated September 9, imposing ban on immersion of Ganesha Idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) in Hussain Sagar or any other lake in the city and immersion of idols of any kind from the Tank Bund side.
A division bench headed by acting Chief Justice M.S. Ramchandra Rao and Justice T. Vinod Kumar made it clear to the government and other stakeholders that it would not accept any such request and if they were unsatisfied with the orders of the court, then they had the liberty to file an appeal.
The bench asked the state government how it could request the court to allow them to violate laws and provisions related to prevention of water and sound pollution, which were enacted by the legislature several years ago.
"A law has been enacted since 1955 and one-and-a-half years ago, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) issued directives to ban idols made of Plaster of Paris and to prevent usage of synthetic colours on idols. Nothing was done to enact these provisions. When the court interferes to make the rules enforced, then the blame game starts against the courts. What an irony!" Justice Rao observed.
"This court is not inclined to modify its order because the governments created such circumstances with their own actions. Bureaucracy and administration should have anticipated this situation earlier only. You (bureaucracy and administration) created the present situation and now you only figure out the solution," the bench said.
The bench expressed serious doubts over the bona fides of the GHMC commissioner as nowhere in his earlier three affidavits, he disclosed that bigger Ganesha idols cannot be immersed in the 25 baby ponds created in the GHMC area. "Further, he did not mention the accessibility to baby ponds. Such crucial information was withheld from the court and this is nothing but misleading the court. And now, the state comes before the court and seeks modification to the order," the bench observed.
Harender Prasad, special counsel for the state pleaded the court to permit Ganesha idols immersion from the bund side of the Hussain Sagar as the depth of water is more and bigger Ganesh idols made of PoP can be immersed there only. Further, he prayed the court to permit the government to go ahead with the immersion this time as all arrangements have been made with latest crane technology, failing which the citizens will be put to hardships due to traffic jams.
Reacting to it, Justice Rao observed, "The state has spent crores of rupees on beautifying the tank bund area. Vintage ramps and railings have been created, new tiles have been laid with the taxpayers’ money and permitting immersion from Tank Bund side will result in huge damage, resulting in wasting taxpayers’ money. On one hand, the government spends taxpayers’ money on beautification and on the other hand, it wastes the money."
"We, at the High Court, respect all religious sentiments. No scripture says that one should pray to the Ganesha idol made of PoP and synthetic colours and Ganesha should be immersed in Hussain Sagar lake only," the division bench observed.