BMC retracts notice banning Ganesh idols made of PoP, allows immersion in artificial lakes

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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has retracted its notice banning plaster of Paris (PoP) idols ahead of the Ganesh festival, 10 days after issuing it. However, the civic body has made it mandatory for citizens and organisers to immerse PoP idols only in artificial lakes.
The move comes after several idol makers and artisans requested the civic body to postpone the implementation of ban, as many had bought raw materials and several others had PoP idols ready for delivery. Artisans said procurement of new raw material was not possible in the short duration. This year, the 10-day Ganpati festival will start from August 30.
In a meeting held on Monday with Ganpati festival organisers, and varied civic departments, BMC, in a statement, said: “There will be a complete ban on PoP idols in the BMC jurisdiction from 2023 Ganesh festival. It will be mandatory to buy and sell only idols made from environmentally friendly elements like shadu clay from next year.”
It further stated, “For this year’s Ganeshotsav which will take place after two years of Covid-19 restrictions, as a special case, permission has been given to buy and sell the plaster of Paris idols of Lord Ganesha. However, it will be mandatory to immerse domestic Ganesh idols made of such ‘plaster of Paris’ in an artificial lake. It has also been made mandatory to mention ‘Plaster of Paris’ on these idols, so that the idols can be identified as ‘Plaster of Paris’ idols during immersion.”
Similar to the previous two years, BMC said that the height of Ganesh idols brought home cannot be taller than two feet. The Ganesh idols used in public celebrations should be as low in height as possible, said BMC. In addition, mandap permits and other permits issued at the municipal level will be given out through a single-window scheme online.
In May 2020, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had issued detailed guidelines banning PoP idols, which are said to be the cause of serious pollution in water bodies. However, the ban was postponed for a year after idol makers expressed fear of loss of livelihood due to it.
The CPCB had also listed detailed guidelines like registration of idol makers who make more than 100 idols in a day, visarjan charges etc.
Along with CPCB, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court had also banned selling and making of PoP idols due to its toxic impact on water bodies.
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