BBMP sees sharp drop in PoP Ganesha idol immersions

BBMP sees sharp drop in PoP Ganesha idol immersions

Volunteers immerse a PoP Ganesha idol in Halasuru Lake on Monday evening. DH PHOTO/IRSHAD MAHAMMAD

Ganesha idols made of the dreaded Plaster of Paris (Pop) account for just over 1% of those sunk in city waterbodies, according to the civic body. 

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) that oversees immersion activities has credited awareness among netizens about eco-friendly materials for the drastic reduction of Pop Ganeshas in use for the past four years. 

It said a mere 2,962 out of 1,60,781 Ganesha idols sunk on the first day were made of PoP. Civic officials said more than 5,000 Pop idols were sunk last year. 

The civic body has imposed Rs 10,000 fines on those using PoP idols — or idols made of prohibited materials — and sinking them in BBMP-designated tanks. The restriction did not seem to have prevented PoP idols from immersion at the temple tanks, or Kalyanis. 

Not wanting to hurt the religious sentiments, officials admitted that they were less severe in imposing the penalty on the festival day. “We didn’t expect the number of pop idols recorded by the BBMP to come down so drastically this year,” admitted a BBMP official. “Citizens are changing and I’m sure that the PoP idols would disappear next year.” 

The civic body could not prevent the PoP idols arriving from other states. Asked why the BBMP allowed the immersion of PoP idols, the official said the Palike had taken custody of some PoP idols. “At least three marshals present near the tanks. They seized the PoP idols and kept them aside. But people took advantage of the marshal’s temporary absence and sunk the PoP idols. There’re some instances where the marshals were threatened by the local communities for restricting immersion,” he said. 

Marshals at Bellandur Lake on Monday stopped residents who tried immersing a PoP Ganesha idol in the waterbody.

The residents can sink idols at Kaikondrahalli, Kasavanahalli and Doddanekundi lakes in Bellandur.