The Telangana High Court had banned the immersion of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris in Hyderabad's Hussain Sagar.

A Ganesh idol being immersed in Hussain Sagar lakeFile photo/PTI
news Court Saturday, September 11, 2021 - 18:42

Strongly reacting to the Telangana High Court’s order against immersing Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) in the Hussain Sagar lake, the Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi, the committee which annually installs the tallest Ganesh statue in Hyderabad’s Khairatabad, on Saturday, September 11 said that the judgement has offended the religious sentiments of Hindus. Traditionally, Ganesh idols, particularly the Khairatabad Ganesh idol, have been immersed in the Hussain Sagar lake as it is also convenient owing to its proximity. The samithi has appealed to the government to either file a review petition or approach the Supreme Court to get the order cancelled.

The Telangana High Court on Thursday, ordered that no idols made of PoP should be immersed in Hussain Sagar. It said that idols made of PoP should be immersed in baby ponds constructed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) or in separate areas and ponds which do not result in spreading pollution into the main water body. 

“The respondent Nos.1 to 11 (Telangana Pollution Control Board, Hyderabad Commissioner of Police, GHMC Commissioner) can also explore the use of inflatable rubber dam wall as was used while carrying on dredging operations in the Hussain Sagar lake earlier by encircling the area for immersion of idols as an alternative,” the court had said. 

The court had passed this order after reviewing a contempt case petition filed by Venumadhav, an advocate and social worker, who complained that the idols made of PoP and hazardous chemicals were polluting the lakes.

Addressing the media, Bhagavanth Rao, General Secretary of the Samithi, said that the state government failed to make a proper defense, as a result of which the High Court passed these orders. 

Reading out the Government Order issued in 2001 by the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh government, Bhagavanth said, “The GO mandated the idols to be made with Plaster of Paris, then why didn't they tell this to the court? The authorities got scared and didn’t share this before the bench because of which the court had passed these orders.” Bhagavanth defended that the water did not get polluted because of using metallic colours. 

The Environment Protection Training and Research Institute lab report produced before the court in 2001 showed that the immersion of idols did not cause any harm to the lake body, Bhagavanth claimed. He added that Hussain Sagar lake was 100% polluted in the 1990s itself, due to industrial effluents flowing from Balanagar, Kukkatpally and other industrial areas, and authorities did not take any steps to purify it, Bhagavanth said.

“The court is trying to project that just one day of immersion is polluting the entire lake, whereas throughout the year industrial effluents pollute the lake. This is unfair. Which report proved that one day of immersion is polluting the lake? Is there any established evidence to this?” Bhagavanth argued.

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