MYSURU: In less than a month, the streets of the ‘Heritage City’ will come alive with the energy and vibrancy that marks Ganesha Chaturthi processions, not to mention the garlands that will festoon the arches of its architectural landmarks and, most importantly, the enormous idols of the elephant-headed God riding in a vehicle styled like a chariot. While Ganesha celebrations are , without a glimmer of doubt, affairs to remember, there is a flipside to it – the persisting use of () idols that adversely affect the environment.
However, intent on cracking down on PoP idols this year, Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) has constituted a team to ensure that only eco-friendly figurines of Ganesha are used in the city. The team, led by MCC health officer Dr DN Nagaraj visited manufacturing units in Paduavarahalli, and was pleased to find artisans creating idols only out of .

Besides enjoining on manufacturers to make Ganesha idols exclusively out of clay, MCC has requested them to limit the height of idols to 4ft. Dr Nagaraj stated that MCC would also seize idols made from paper mould.

PoP Ganesha idols that were used for mass ceremonies were, more often than not, immersed in lakes thereby polluting them, with the chemical colouring agents found floating on the surface. Meanwhile, the order to restrict the height of idols to 4ft is the consequence of tragedies that have been reported during street processions wherein massive idols would often topple.

Having already met with the manufacturer of Ganesha idols, MCC has now initiated a drive to inspect manufacturing units.

Pleased with the positive response from the public to celebrating an eco-friendly Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations, Dr Nagaraj told TOI, “So far, we have not come across any PoP idol manufacturers. While MCC requested manufacturers to limit the height of statues to 4ft, we did not make it mandatory. But, the public and the manufacturers have welcomed our decision. We have not received any complaints.”

He added that manufacture of idols was yet to commence at many units in the city. “But we will visit all the units to ensure PoP and paper mould idols are not manufactured,” Dr Nagaraj said.

D Revanna, a manufacturer of Ganesha idols in Kumbarkeri, said that, despite MCC issuing orders not to make PoP idols every year without fail, they made their way into the city either from Bengaluru or Tamil Nadu. “Many huge PoP Ganesha idols have already entered the city, and we have raised this issue with the MCC as well. We are hopeful they will not allow the city’s waterbodies to get polluted. We also welcome the decision to limit the height of idols. Idols made using clay cannot exceed a height of 3ft, since they are brittle and can break easily. This will also limit PoP and other synthetic idols being used,” Revanna said.

– Akshatha J

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