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Plea For Pollution Free Puja

Bhubaneswar: Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has asked cultural organizers to ensure pollution-free Durga Puja, Laxmi Puja and Kali Puja this year.

The Member Secretary of the Board Dr. K. Murugesan has written a letter to all regional offices to appeal to the organisers and public to observe the pollution free festive season this year.  

Puia Committees and organisers have been asked to use natural clay for making of idols instead of baked clay, plaster of paris etc. They have been asked to use water soluble and nontoxic natural dyes for painting of idols instead of toxic non-biodegradable chemical dyes.

The height of the super structure of the idol shall be limited to 40ft and of the idol shall be limited to 20ft in height, said Dr.Murugesan.

The Board has asked to immerse idols only at the identified immersion sites constructed by the district authorities or local bodies.

The organisers will have to remove worship materials like flowers, decorating materials before immersion of idols and dispose of them in the municipal dump site and make sure that they are not burnt near the immersion site.

“Do not single use plastic or thermocol materials for decoration purpose and Prasad sevan or distribution,” it said.

The district authorities and local bodies have been asked to create awareness among the public regarding water pollution caused by idol immersion and appeal to the public to purchase eco-friendly idols made up of natural clay and coloured with natural dyes.

The Board has also instructed the authorities to identify an adequate number of designated immersion sites and inform the Puja Committees well in advance.

In case of immersion of idols in rivers and lakes, arrangements may be made for construction of temporary confined ponds with earthen buns and removable synthetic liner for the purpose of immersion of idols. Identify the immersion sites at the points where the flow in stream is naturally available, it said.

Within 24 hours of the immersion, the leftover materials from the immersion site will be removed for disposal at designated municipal dump site and the supernatant water may be allowed to flow into the river after adding lime to clear the water, suggested the OSPCB.

In its advisory for individual households, the Board said they are encouraged to use only eco-friendly idols made of natural clay and bio-degradable materials as decorative and puja materials.

They have been advised to conduct immersion of the idols at their homes in an eco-friendly manner or immerse the idols in the designated on-land temporary artificial ponds or tanks located nearby or artificial movable tanks arranged by the local bodies.

As per the Odisha Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (Procedure for Immersion of Idol after Pujas) Rules, 2021, for violation of Rule 3 by idol makers, they may be prohibited from idol making for 2 (two) years by the concerned local bodies, warned the Board.  

The deposition of the idol manufacturers towards registration fees will also be forfeited by the respective local body in addition to the prohibition of idol making for two years.

Further, for violation of Rules 5 and 6 by the Puja Committee Organisers, the concerned local bodies can impose penalty on Puja Committee Organisers.

In case the Puja Committee is located in the Panchayat area, Rs. 3,000 fine will be imposed while Rs. 5,000 fine will be collected in case the Puja Committee is located in the area of Municipality or Notified Area Councils (NAC).

In case the Puja Committee is located in the area of Municipal Corporation like Bhubaneswar, the violating Puja Committee will have to pay Rs. 7,000, it said.