Subdivisional magistrate Ameet Kumar (centre) and deputy mayor Sanjiv Vijayvargiya (in blue coat) at the inauguration of the vermicompost plant at Pahari Mandir (left) in Ranchi on Sunday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
It’s nature worship at its most progressive. A historic temple in the capital has arguably become the state’s first religious site to opt for transforming items used for puja such as garlands and leafy offerings into manure. Pahari Temple on Ratu Road will use this organic fertiliser for its afforestation activities nearby.
On Sunday, Ranchi subdivisional magistrate Ameet Kumar and deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya inaugurated the vermi-compost plant on temple premises.
Built at a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the backyard of the temple on the hillock, the organic plant has four pits. To mark the launch, Kumar and Vijayvargiya released vermin or worms into the composting pits.
The first lot of manure, estimated about six tonnes, will be prepared in 60 days from Sunday. Each one, measuring 12 feet in length and three feet in width, has four alternating layers of other items and cow dung.
Each biodegradable layer of six-inch thickness comprises used flowers, bel patra and other biodegradable items. As is the norm in vermicomposting, water will have to be sprinkled generously on the pits while worms will process these layers into rich manure.
“Some 20 tonnes of water will be sprinkled in all pits daily. They are highly nutritious for plants. If all goes well, each pit will have between six to eight tonnes of vermicompost,” Kumar, who is one of the members of Pahadi Mandir Development Committee, said.
Lohardaga-based NGO Vegetable Growers’ Cooperative Society Limited, which specialises in producing organic fertilisers, has been assigned the duty of maintaining the plant.
From now on, organic puja paraphernalia will be collected every day in a systematic manner in one place. It will be fed into the pits once the first lot of vermicompost manure is generated.
Kumar said the idea struck them last year during Sawan puja.
“We saw the huge dumps of puja offerings such as bel patra and flowers and wondered how they could be used. Lying uselessly, they were posing to be a major cleanliness problem. This vermicompost plant will recycle it into manure, taking care of the cleanliness issue automatically,” he said.
On the use of manure, Kumar said their first priority was greening the hillock of the temple.
“Once the plant starts producing more manure, we will start a counter at the temple to sell it in packets,” he said.