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Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC)

Mixed response to Calcutta Municipal Corporation’s jet wash

Nine Durga puja committees used the facility on Friday, while there was no one who used the facility till 8pm on Saturday

Subhajoy Roy | Published 17.10.21, 12:12 AM
Idols being immersed with hosepipes at Doi Ghat on Dashami

Idols being immersed with hosepipes at Doi Ghat on Dashami

Telegraph picture

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation’s initiative to use hosepipes for “immersion” of idols so that the idols do not have to be dipped in the Hooghly’s waters have had a mixed response in the first two days.

Nine Durga puja committees used the facility on Friday, while there was no one who used the facility till 8pm on Saturday.

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A 40x30 ft temporary structure has been built at Doi Ghat for the purpose. Three hose pipes through which water is sprayed on the idol at high pressure are being used, said a senior CMC official. “The three water jets or hose pipes are showering the idols at very high pressure. This is washing away the paint on the idols,” said the senior official. “It is taking about 20 minutes for all the five idols, Durga and her four children to be washed.”

The CMC has built two tanks under the platform on which the idols are being placed before they are sprayed with from the pipes. The first tank has a strainer that is blocking lumps of soil and other non-liquid items from going into the second tank. “Only the water is going to the second tank,” said the official.

While announcing the initiative before Puja, Firhad Hakim, the chairperson of CMC’s board of administrators, had said the water would be taken to a sewage treatment plant through underground sewer lines and not discharged into the Hooghly. The treated water will then be drained out to Calcutta’s east.

“The primary objective is to prevent the pollution of Hooghly,” said the official. 

There are 16 other ghats along the Hooghly where idols are immersed in the traditional way. Another CMC official said even in these ghats the idols were removed with cranes within 10 to 15 minutes after they are immersed to minimise pollution.

The CMC has created the ambience of a Durga puja pandal by decorating the platform using garlands, lamps, religious symbols to allure puja committees towards the “immersion by jet wash”.

Puja committees would not need to make any prior booking to use the facility. The CMC has plans to scale up the facility if it turns out to be a success this year.

But environmentalists warned that scaling up could harm the east Calcutta wetlands if the water with paints is not treated.

“It’s a welcome step but CMC needs to make arrangements, particularly if it wants to employ the mode on a mega scale....” said Arunabha Majumdar, a wastewater expert and former director of All India Institute of Hygiene & Public Health.

“It needs to be ensured that the toxic pollutants do not get mixed with the sewage water as that is predominantly used in cultivating vegetables and fishes in east Calcutta wetlands,” he added.

Last updated on 17.11.21, 01:21 PM
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