‘Environment Compensation’: ₹50,000 Fine For Idol Immersion In Ganga Says Central Govt.

Dussehra is here and festivities are in full swing! The roads are lit with decorative lights with a pandal at every block with the idols being in all their glory. It’s a happy time for everyone. But not so much for the environment following the trends.

Image Source: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS

On the last day of Durga Puja, Dashami, thousands of idols are immersed in the river Ganga and the pollution therefore caused is hard to conceive until one sees it with their own eyes. Thankfully the has now taken a necessary step to curb water pollution during the puja season.

The report of The Indian Express says that the 15-point directive was issued by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to chief secretaries in 11 Ganga basin states. “No idol immersion into river Ganga and its tributaries and on their banks,” the directive says. Idols are immersed in rivers during festivals such as Dussehra, Diwali, Chhath, Ganesh Chaturthi and Saraswati Puja.

The directive was issued by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to chief secretaries of 11 states which include Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Rajasthan, reported News18.

Declared under Section 5 of The Environment (Protection) Act, the directive states that arrangements should be made for “designated idol-immersion sites”. They have asked for the construction of “temporary confined ponds with removable synthetic liners at the bottom”.

State governments have been ordered to ensure that “there is no use of synthetic material/ non-biodegradable material, plaster of Paris (POP), baked clay, resin fibers, and thermocouple for making of idols.”

Also, the use of toxic and non-biodegradable chemical dyes and synthetic paints are strictly prohibited. Violators of any of the above rules will be imposed with Rs. 50,000 fine.

In May 2015, PM Narendra Modi had set an ambitious 2019 deadline (later extended to 2020) to “conserve, clean and rejuvenate” Ganga, as part of the ₹20,000-crore “Namami Gange” project. However, according to data released by Sankat Mochan Foundation’s Ganga Laboratory at Tulsi Ghat earlier this year, the river’s water quality has only deteriorated in the past three years. While the biochemical oxygen demand in Ganga has risen from 46.8-54mg/l to 66-78mg/l between January 2016 and February 2019, the level of dissolved oxygen (DO), which should be 6mg/l, has gone down from 2.4mg/l to 1.4mg/l during the aforementioned time period. 

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