The High Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by the state government to allow immersion of Plaster of Paris idols in the lake for Ganesh Chaturthi.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao seen in white shirt sitting in a white chairFile Photo
news Immersion Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 09:03

The Telangana government has sought the intervention of the Supreme Court as the High Court on Monday refused to lift the ban on idol immersion of Plaster of Paris idols in Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad amid Ganesh Chaturthi festivities. An appeal was filed by the state government in the apex court. Animal Husbandry Minister T Srinivas Yadav told reporters that the state government's petition may come up for hearing on Wednesday. "We will wait for the Supreme Court order and will act accordingly," he said after a delegation of Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi (BGUS) called on him. The organisers had demanded that the government take measures to ensure smooth conduct of immersion like every year. A member from the committee said it was for the government to go to the Supreme Court or bring an ordinance to ensure that the immersion took place without any hurdles.

The decision to file an appeal in the Supreme Court was taken after Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao discussed the situation as a result of the High Court order with Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, Municipal Administration Secretary Arvind Kumar and other top officials on Monday. The government decided to go for an appeal keeping in view the sentiments of devotees and the problems faced in implementing the ban on immersion of idols made of PoP in Hussain Sagar.

The High Court on Monday dismissed the revision petition filed by the state government to allow immersion of PoP idols in the lake. A division bench of acting Chief Justice MS Ramachandra Rao and Justice T Vinod Kumar made it clear in the High Court that it cannot permit water pollution by allowing immersion of PoP idols. "You created a situation of impossibility, now solve it. We cannot grant permission to people to pollute Hussain Sagar," the bench said.

The court also refused to allow immersion into Hussain Sagar from Tank Bund road, saying the huge amount of taxpayers' money spent by the government to beautify the stretch will be wasted. The review petition was filed by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Commissioner Lokesh Kumar. The petitioner had mentioned that if the immersion was not allowed from Tank Bund, it may take up to six days for immersion of thousands of idols brought to the lake.

While refusing to modify its order, the High Court had stated that if the government doesn't like its order, it can challenge the same in the higher court. With less than a week to go for the immersion, the High Court order landed the authorities in a dilemma.

The court had pronounced orders on a contempt petition filed by advocate Mamidi Venu Madhav for not implementing the court's orders in the writ petition filed by him seeking a direction to restrain people from immersing idols made of plaster of Paris in Hussain Sagar lake. The 10-day long Ganesh festival began on September 10. The festivities will conclude on September 19 with the immersion.

Every year, thousands of idols are immersed in Hussain Sagar. Huge idols are brought to the lake in a mammoth procession that starts from Balapur on the city outskirts. NGOs, environmental activists, and eminent citizens have been voicing concern over the pollution in the lake and demanding curbs on immersion.

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