The Bombay High Court has raised concerns over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) decision to permit the immersion of idols in lakes within the Aarey colony during the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, urging the BMC to demonstrate the steps taken to ensure eco-friendly immersions.
The court was made aware that a local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) had sought permission from the BMC for idol immersion in Aarey. This permission, challenged by the NGO Vanashakti in a public interest litigation (PIL), raised eyebrows given a 2008 High Court judgment and guidelines from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that restrict the immersion of non-biodegradable idols in natural water bodies.
The court called for clarity regarding BMC's actions and ordered them to submit an affidavit detailing compliance with statutory notifications and court guidelines by the next hearing on September 8. The court also suggested the creation of artificial ponds for immersion to ensure adherence to guidelines and environmental protection.
Vanashakti's PIL argued that the BMC's permission violated CPCB guidelines and the 2008 High Court judgment. The NGO claimed that the BMC's decision followed the MLA's promotion of idol immersion in Aarey, an eco-sensitive zone according to a Central government notification.
The court criticized the BMC for disregarding its responsibilities, particularly the duty to protect the environment and ecology of the Aarey colony, highlighting the need to abide by court guidelines and CPCB notifications. This case underscores the importance of eco-friendly practices, especially during cultural celebrations like Ganesh Chaturthi.
Author: Anushka Taraniya
News Writer, MIT ADT University