What ban, PoP idols still sold across city

What ban, PoP idols still sold across city
Idols made from plaster of Paris continue to be sold across Beng­a­luru despite a ban in place. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (K­S­P­CB) says it’s helpless and cannot fully enforce the ban.

“We imposed the ban twice and directed the local bodies — the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in case of Bengaluru — to enforce the ban by conducting raids and carrying out inspections,” KSPCB chairman Lakshman told DH. “But nothing has been done. We will issue fresh directions and join the local bodies in the raids and inspections.”

It was in 2014 that the KSPCB banned the use and immersion of PoP idols in all waterbodies. It reintroduced the ban in 2016. The ban followed orders from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2013 for protecting the waterbodies. The KSPCB also invoked Section 33 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act to impose the ban.

When the ban was reintroduced in 2016, some manufacturers asked the KSPCB for more time, saying they needed to exhaust old stock. The KSPCB permitted them to sell the idols on the condition that the products be disposed scientifically at landfill sites. KSPCB officials say other government departments are offering no help in checking the arrival of PoP idols from other states. In January, some idol manufacturers petitioned the High Court of Karnataka against the ban. They also objected to the KSPCB’s demand to take possession of all unsold idols so as to dispose them at landfill sites. The high court dismissed the petition recently.

Idol makers say that despite rising awareness of clay idols, manufacturing large clay idols is difficult because clay is not easily available. “Most of the large idols are made by Mumbai artists who have a gift for the skill. It’s easier to make large PoP idols than clay ones. Clay idols are also heavier and costlier than PoP ones,” an idol seller said.

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