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Strict vigil on idol makers in Delhi to save Yamuna

Two-member panel set up by the National Green Tribunal tells civic agencies to ensure that toxic material is not used in making idols.

Updated: Sep 12, 2018 03:42:29

By Vatsala Shrangi

Every year, the Yamuna gets dirty and highly polluted after the festivities. (Arvind Yadav/HT File Photo)

This festive season, Delhi’s civic agencies will keep an eye on the quality of material used in idols that are later immersed in the Yamuna, which gets dirty and highly polluted every year after the festivities.

A monitoring committee comprising two former bureaucrats, recently set up by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), asked all stakeholders to form teams to monitor idol-makers and pandals ahead of Durga Puja, Dusshera and Ganesh Chaturthi.

Officials in the north and east municipal corporations — a major part of the Yamuna flows through areas under their jurisdiction — said they had been asked to rope in puja committees to monitor the idol-makers in their areas.

A civic body official said the two-member committee will also assess the quality of water at different points of the Yamuna before and after immersion .



“Every year, idols made of plaster of paris (POP), a material believed to be hazardous for the river, are found during the cleaning of ghats. By looking at the idols, one can figure out if it is POP or biodegradable material. The civic agencies along with the government’s environment department will keep a tab on the quality of material being used to make the idols,” said East Corporation commissioner Ranbir Singh.

Singh said the civic body is yet to decide what action they would take if any idol-maker is found using hazardous materials. “We are in the process of deciding the action,” he said.

The district magistrates of areas though where the Yamuna flows will hold meetings with all stakeholders, including the civic bodies, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Delhi Police, among others, to patrol the areas before the activities start.

“We will conduct a joint inspection of the ghats with the police on Wednesday to check security-related issues after which the plan will be laid out,” said K Mahesh, DM (East and Shahdara).

Every year after immersion, the levels of dissolved oxygen, essential to support aquatic life in the river, fall to zero.

The committee comprising Shailja Chandra, former chief secretary, and B S Sajwan, former principal conservator of forests, will submit an action plan to ensure the minimum standard of water quality at the entry and exit points of the river by September 15.

First Published: Sep 12, 2018 03:42:29

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