Since time immemorial, devotees from every corner of the city have been taking out processions and immersing Ganesh idols in Sursagar Lake. Thousands of Barodians throng the lake to watch the processions every year and offer prayers to the lord. For the first time, the tradition will have to be let go, as this year the lake is being cleaned and renovated by the VMC.
“There is no possibility of Ganesh idol immersions happening in the lake this year as it is under renovation. A 12-metre ghaat has been made around the lake that has no water,” said Dr Vinod Rao, municipal commissioner. The civic body, however, will offer alternatives to the citizens.
Rao told TOI that the civic body is looking for plots to create ponds where idols can be immersed. The estimated project cost for each pond is about Rs 25 lakh.
“We are planning to make five to six artificial ponds in different areas of the city where people can immerse Ganesh idols. Last year too, VMC made three artificial ponds where hundreds of idols were immersed,” Rao said.
City police commissioner Manoj Sashidhar and Rao have already started meeting Ganesh pandal organizers to convince them for immersing idols in artificial ponds or alternative water bodies.
“We met about 40 Ganesh pandal organizers on Wednesday and discussed the possibility of immersing idols in artificial ponds and other water bodies instead of Sursagar Lake. All of them were positive about it. We will also involve the other stakeholders and take everyone in confidence,” Sashidhar said.
The authorities will have to pursuade the oldest and biggest Ganesh pandal organizers who have been taking out immersion processions through a fixed route in the city and immersing idols in Sursagar.
Sursagar Lake has in the past earned the dubious distinction of being the dirtiest water body among water bodies in five cities of Gujarat. A Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) study found Sursagar to be the most polluted among the 18 ponds it studied in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat and Bhavnagar. “VMC removed 6,000 truckloads of Plaster of Paris (PoP) from Sursagar after we began cleaning up the lake earlier this year,” Rao said.
“Apart from the PoP, the lead content in the idol colours mixes with water and pollutes the lake. It also percolates to the underground water table. Immersing Ganesh idols in artificial ponds is the best way to prevent water pollution,” Sashidhar said.
Environment activist, Rohit Prajapati said, “It is a welcome move and the decision to not allow idol immersion in Sursagar Lake has to be implemented strictly. In fact, there should be ban on idol immersion in all the water bodies along with Mahi River.”
Courtesy – The Times of India.