DC debate: Why people not attracted to eco-friendly Ganesh idols?


DC debates why the environment-friendly clay Ganesh idols fail to attract buyers in the city
Involve local artisans in making clay idols
Major Shiva Kiran, president, Sukuki Exnora
Spirit of Ganesh puja is in sincere prayer rather than the idol or what it is made of.
Traditionally, Ganesh idols are made of clay taken from the lakes before the rains arrive. This increases the capacity of the lake to store water when it rains. After observance of Ganesh puja the clay of the Ganesh idol is sprinkled across the fields. It is a win-win situation for the environment as well as the farmer.
In Hyderabad, the campaign to promote clay idols took off more than a decade ago and it has not reached the expected levels yet. 
Hyderabad has about 20 lakh households and there is a need for at least 10 lakh small idols.  In the last few years, the availability of clay Ganesh idols has been in the range of 50,000 to 1 lakh. Clay, though environment-friendly, looks a bit dull and non-attractive and fails to find takers because of its fragility. People are after the flashy colours and eye-catching idols. 
However, with the advent of natural colours, made out of vegetable dyes, it is possible to add colours to the dull idols.
The various government departments — Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority, APPCB and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation which are primarily responsible for promoting a cleaner environment, have been competing with each other rather than working together on an integrated campaign. 
There has been more of a knee jerk reaction on part of the government whenever the judiciary has intervened. There is a definite need to make available more clay idols that are affordable. There is also a need to involve the local artisans in the making of these clay idols.
Currently, most idols of clay are being brought from other areas. This year, it is estimated that Hyderabad will have about 1 lakh pandals. 
Clay Ganesh idols of larger sizes in the range of 3 ft. to 10 ft., are also being made to order.  But then again the looks and design elements have relegated the use of clay.
We would like our God to look colourful
Raj Kumar Singari, member, Khairatabad Ganesh Utsav Committee
For  the last 59 years, the Khairatabad Utsav Committee and several  others have been using  Ganesh idols made of plaster of paris and we will continue to do so. Not that we do not care about the environment, but it is our age-old tradition and we want to follow it.
We would like our God to look bright, colourful and attractive and we choose to  ignore  the price tag. It is  one of the biggest festivals in the city. Why make it a dull affair by opting for mud idols?
Only during Ganesh Chaturthi is the topic of pollution raised, as if all the dirt in the lakes are caused  by immersion of  idols. The municipal bodies have failed to stop the pollution of the Hussain sagar and other water bodies. Do they sleep throughout the year and wake up during the festivals to begin declaring that pollution is caused due to immersion?
Even the reports submitted by  the PCB to  the High Court regarding Tank Bund states that the water body is polluted due to various reasons. That is why it has been declared a dead lake. The reports also mention that the levels of pollutants in these lakes remain the same before, during and after  the immersion.
Many Ganesh utsav committees have requested the municipal authorities to organise a meeting with idol makers, and also to supply eco-friendly colours. However, no steps have been taken to provide any such harmless colours. 
There is a lot of publicity about mud idols, but when these idols are immersed, the clay gets deposited on the lake bed, and it is difficult to remove this clay.
For the last 30 years there have been no efforts to remove the dirt and pollutants, so how will they remove the mud of the immersed idols? The  Environmental Protection Training and Research Institute, in  its study submitted to the AP High Court, stated that idols  made of PoP cause no pollution in the lakes.
They state that such idols will be easy to remove  from water bodies after immersion as they take more time to dissolve or melt in water.
This was the stated viewpoint as expressed by the pro-plaster of paris Ganpati idol lobby.

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