The GHMC, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, has been constructing 15-20 artificial ponds for Ganesh immersion. In these artificial ponds, smaller Ganesha idols will be immersed. In 2017, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations begins on August 25 and ends on September 5th with Anantha Chaturdashi.
Ganesh Chaturthi is round the corner and idols big and small of portly Ganeshas are beginning to line up at roadside stalls across the city. Every year, processions carrying idols of various sizes queue up near Hussainsagar for the celebratory immersion.
To avoid the routine jamming of roads and pollution of the central lake, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has proposed construction of more 15 artificial ponds for immersion. This will be in addition to the 10 already built.
Of the 20 planned, approval has been given for 14, on which works are likely to commence shortly. These ponds will be spread over five locations at Saki Cheruvu, Patancheru, Raisamudram Lake, R.C.Puram, Gopi Cheruvu, Lingampally, Durgam Cheruvu, Madhapur and Kaidamma Kunta in Hafeezpet. With this, the number of immersion ponds for this year’s Ganesh festival will be 23, including last year’s nine.
“Most people come to Hussainsagar, Saroornagar lake and a few other lakes in the city for immersion. Once these ponds are constructed, citizens can immerse smaller idols there and avoid heavy crowds in prominent sites,” said Shekar Reddy , superintendent engineer who looks after lakes within the GHMC limits.
These ponds will also help control water pollution that is the environmental cost of the festival, especially since many people continue to immerse idols made of plaster of paris that are coloured with harmful chemicals.
The average size of each pond is 43×43 metres and the depth is 4 metres. Idols up to 8×10 feet can be immersed in these ponds, which also have steps leading up to the water for the convenience of people.
Fresh water will be poured into these ponds via tankers and staffers will be deployed during the immersion time to remove the idols immediately after immersion to make way for more.
In the 10 artificial ponds already built -Saroornagar lake, Gangaram Lake in Chandanagar, Malka Cheruvu in Raidurgam and Hussa insagar are some examples -as many as 3,000 idols per lake were immersed last year.
But the major drawback of these artificial ponds is that they are inaccessible to cranes, which are set up near the bigger lakes to facilitate immersion of big idols. Thus, idols can only be immersed manually in these ponds.
“I appreciate the move by the civic body, but we had a tough time immersing the idol manually last year in a pond. Our Ganesh idol was 10 feet and we struggled a lot as there was no scope of using machinery near the pond,” said Suresh CH, who organises the Ganesh festival in the Old City.
Nevertheless, the civic body has requested people immerse idols only in artificial ponds instead of lakes. “People can play a role in lake conservation by immersing their idols in these ponds,” said a GHMC official.