After failing spectacularly to keep its promises about addressing environmental concerns and ignoring pleas to set up more artificial ponds for immersing Ganesh idols, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)—bowing down to the Bombay High Court—will set up one more pond for devotees at Aarey Milk Colony for the final day of Ganeshotsav Be it setting up artificial ponds or monitoring Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols or cracking down on single-use plastic bags, the BMC has repeatedly displayed a lack of alacrity.
Environmentalists have lambasted the civic body, saying it needs to be more proactive and environment friendly when it comes to Aarey Milk Colony where there are limited facilities for the last day of idol immersionsThe BMC had provided one artificial lake and six small vehicle-mounted ponds on the spot, but they proved inadequateOn Monday, the high court inquired if more artificial ponds could be set up in the colony for the immersion of idols.
There are three natural lakes in the colony where immersions take place every year. A large number of idols from Goregaon, Jogeshwari East, Andheri East and Malad East are immersed in large numbers in these water bodies. A court order this year prohibited the immersion of Ganesh idols in the colony’s natural lakes Prabhakar Shinde, ex-group leader of the BJP in the BMC wrote a letter to the municipal commissioner requesting that more artificial ponds be provided.
This year only one artificial pond and six small mobile ponds are available. This arrangement will not be enough. Keeping this in mind it is necessary to construct as many artificial ponds as possible as per the court’s directive said Shinde Rajesh Akre, assistant commissioner of P South ward, said, “There will be two artificial lakes near Aarey lake, four mobile ponds at Aarey Road near the Western Express Highway and two mobile ponds at the picnic spot Ramakant Biradar, deputy municipal commissioner, said the civic body had planned to provide more than 300 artificial ponds across the city.
Besides, the decision was taken at the last moment. But we increased the number of ponds from 164 last year to 200 this year. We will definitely try to provide more spots next year,” he said.Naresh Dahibaonkar of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti said, “The number of artificial lakes should have been increased to make the festival eco-friendly. We also demanded that the number of ponds be increased at a single spot that can accommodate two to three artificial water bodies.
Even in the case of PoP idols, the civic body has been lethargic. The BMC had made it mandatory this year to make household Ganesh idols with eco-friendly materials like clay and warned that it would initiate action against sellers who sell non-eco-friendly household idols. However, six days into the festival, no action has been taken in this regard so far. The BMC is merely taking note of the numbers of PoP and eco-friendly idolsn