The Telegraph
Wednesday , October 10 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Green cause rules Puja

This Durga Puja, Rotary Club of Jamshedpur will help the steel city think Green, by replacing polythene bags with jute and cloth ones at pandals from where bhog is distributed to hundreds of devotees on the four main days.

In a bid to eliminate the use of plastic, Rotary Club has already approached Jamshedpur Durga Puja Kendriya Samiti to help implement its plans in at least 50 of the major pandals in the city, which hosts 285 Pujas.

Usually, the bhog is distributed in small clay pots, which are then placed in a polythene bag to help devotees carry them home. Now, Rotary Club wants to hand over cloth and jute bags to the main Puja organisers so that the use of plastic can be curtailed to a large extent. In most pandals, 400 to 500 packets of bhog are distributed daily.

“We will identify some of the biggest Puja pandals where we will distribute the eco-friendly bags. We would also try to convince the Puja committees to use such bags so that the message is sent out loud and clear. We are now trying to get sponsors so that we can cover more pandals and the Jamshedpur Durga Puja Kendriya Samity is helping us in the campaign,” said Divya Taneja, one of the key members of the endeavour.

For supply, the club is banking on vendors from Calcutta as local manufacturers have expressed their inability to produce more than 10,000 bags at such a short notice. While so far 50,000 bags have been arranged, the requirement is for 3 lakh. The Puja organisers will not be asked to pay for the bags.

Although in the past schools, colleges, corporate entities and Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board have tried to make the city polythene free, the efforts have not met with much success.

“The next target would be shopkeepers. However, customers would have to be equally co-operative because they are the ones who can bring about a change,” said Rotarian Ronald D’ Costa.

“We will identify those Puja pandals where this initiative can be implemented effectively. We will fully co-operate to bring about this positive change in the city,” said Rambabu Singh, general secretary, Jamshedpur Durga Puja Kendriya Samity.

The only hitch in the Green plans so far has been the cost involved. While polythene bags are available at 50p per piece, a jute or cloth bag of a similar size would cost between Rs 3 and Rs 4.