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Goddess see-off leaves rivers sore

Jamshedpur witnessed a largely peaceful Dashami with 295 immersions at 12 river ghats and just one big casualty — choked water bodies.

The organised immersions from 11am on Wednesday to 12.45am on Thursday, barring minor skirmishes, revealed that the administration had seriously taken its job to manage traffic, law and order on a day when almost the entire city and its outskirts were out on the streets, doing the bhashaan dance.

But once again, the district administration and Puja committees proved that eco-friendly was merely a fashionable and dispensable buzzword.

Jamshedpur Kendriya Durga Puja Samity’s request to the district administration to clean up river ghats after the immersions seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

Flowers, pieces of cloth, plastic, paper and tinsel, chunks of baked clay and plaster of Paris floated on water or were dumped on the banks of every major immersion point such Bhuiyandih, Kapali, Domuhani, Sati Ghat, Sub Station Ghat, Bodhanwala Ghat, Baroda Ghat, Hurlung, Bhojpuri Ghat (Baridih) and Dimna Lake.

Ghats of Subernarekha that saw the maximum number of immersions — a whopping 123 — and Kharkai were chock-a-block with Puja paraphernalia even on Thursday.

Rambabu Singh, general secretary of the apex Samity, cited helplessness.

“We had asked all licensed Puja committees to opt for environment-friendly items so that water bodies are not polluted due to immersion. We had also requested district administration to clean up ghats after immersion. It is now the job of the administration to ensure that puja committees follow norms. We are not a regulatory body, after all,” said the secretary.

East Singhbhum additional deputy commissioner Ganesh Kumar, when contacted, said they would issue a directive to civic bodies Jusco and Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC) to arrange the clean-up of the ghats “at the earliest”.

The district administration has also constituted a panel to judge the pandals and idols for annual Puja awards.

Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board regional officer R.N. Choudhary said they had collected river water samples for analysis.

Environmentalists across the country have been up in arms against the immersion of idols with toxic and non-biodegradable content — paint, tinsel, plaster of Paris, oil, grease, among others — that harm aquatic life.

Meanwhile, Govindpur Ram Mandir Puja Samiti and Govindpur Bazaar Puja Samiti members had a scuffle over dhakis during immersion. Rammandir Puja Samiti members alleged their counterparts of the Bazaar Samiti took their dhakis, while the latter claimed to have hired them.

Deputy superintendent of police (city) K.N. Choudhary said both committees had lodged complaints with Govindpur police. “Prima facie it appears that dhakis of one committee left for Bengal on Navami night itself. This created confusion,” he said.