KSPCB to downsize PoP Ganesha idols

Ganesha idols made from Plaster of Paris kept on sale at RV Road in 2017. DH FILE PHOTO

For the first time, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is contemplating on fixing height restrictions on community clay Ganesha idols. 

The idea is to promote eco-friendly idols and completely ban Plaster of Paris (PoP) community idols. Until last year, the board had permitted the use of PoP community idols.

"Last year, we noticed that clay idols up to three-four feet height were also erected in many pandals. A meeting will be held in the coming days to fix the height on community clay idols. This will ensure that they are easy to make, carry and immerse, and will curtail water pollution," KSPCB chairman Lakshman told DH.

While the idea is not to hurt religious sentiments, Lakshman said those using green alternatives to make the idols could be permitted to have a taller idol.

KSPCB officials also decided to take legal action against PoP idol manufacturers and sellers. It issued directions to district commissioners and municipalities to survey and close down units making PoP idols.

To make eco-friendly idols easily available, KSPCB is tying up with NGOs, organisers and sellers. Lakshman said the final list of locations where eco-friendly idols will be sold is yet to be identified, while plans are on to offer them at government schools, temples, NGOs and government offices and parks. Their prices will vary from Rs 100 to Rs 500, depending upon the size. KSPCB aims to sell at least a lakh in Bengaluru alone.

Manufacturers unhappy

However manufacturers are unhappy with the height restrictions.

Vinayaka, a manufacturer, said people demand idols up to eight feet in height with bright decorations. "Last year, we created the structures with husk and other green materials, but it will be a problem if the government restricts the height. Thematic idols are made with large structures," he said.

Another idol maker, Ramu, said meeting the demand for clay idols will be a challenge due to the difficulties in getting clay from the lakebed. All the waterbodies are filled up in the monsoon, he pointed out.

"Fewer people prefer clay idols, which are fragile and develop cracks while transporting. Finding labourers has also become a challenge," Ramu added.

Eco-friendly idols are made of clay and can easily dissolve in water, leaving no trace of pollutants. They are ornate with vegetable and organic colours, which are not harmful to the environment.

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KSPCB to downsize PoP Ganesha idols

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