Devotees immerse Durga idols in Yamuna despite ban

New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) Despite ban on idol immersion in Yamuna river and other natural water bodies in the national capital, several people flouted the rules issued by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), a day before the ‘visarjan’ (immersion) ritual.
Yamuna Ghat at the ITO was found littered with idols and other religious materials on Saturday morning.
DPCC in its October 13 order had ruled that idol immersion during Durga Puja and other forthcoming festivals in any public place, including river Yamuna or any other water body, ponds and ghats, should not be allowed.
“Consequent pollution of such water bodies has been a matter of concern. In addition to silting, toxic chemicals used in making idols tend to leach out and pose serious problems of water pollution. Studies carried out to assess deterioration in water quality due to idol immersion reveal the deterioration of water quality in respect to conductivity, biochemical oxygen demand and heavy metal concentration,” the order read.
The DPCC had ruled that idol immersion rituals may be performed in a bucket and container within the home premises.
Convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, Manoj Mishra, told IANS, “The prohibition of idol immersion in any public place including Yamuna imposed by DPCC is a welcome step especially in view of idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) or painted with lead-based paints. But it is hardly a measure to rejuvenate the river which is already overloaded with sewage and toxic pollutants from industries.”
The DPCC had directed the District Magistrates to enforce guidelines related to idol immersion, adding that each violator will be liable to pay Rs 50,000 to the DPCC body.
River Yamuna whose catchment covers parts of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in addition to that of Delhi, is most polluted in and around the national capital. Its top pollution sources are the Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), untreated water from unauthorised colonies as well as sewer from authorised colonies.
However, a clean and pollution-free Yamuna has been the poll promise of Delhi government for more than 25 years now.
The first Yamuna Action Plan (YAP) for which a loan agreement was signed in 1992, aimed at improved water quality conservation and hygienic environment in the river basin.
Talking about the Delhi government’s efforts in delivering on its promise of a cleaner Yamuna, Mishra said, “It is too early to say if Delhi government is delivering on its clean Yamuna promise which is contingent to adequate flow in the river on which hardly any action is underway.”

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