CMC seeks immersion ban

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By OUR LEGAL REPORTER in Calcutta
  • Published 9.12.07
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Calcutta, Dec. 8: The Calcutta Municipal Corporation has sought a high court ban on immersion of idols in the Hooghly to protect the river from pollution.

The civic body’s advocate, Aloke Ghosh, yesterday filed in the court a compliance report on cleaning the river after immersion. “If the court wants to keep the river free from pollution, it should impose a ban on immersion of idols,” he said.

The court asked Ghosh to state the corporation’s plea in an affidavit, which has to be submitted within a week.

The advocate told the court the Hooghly got polluted after the Pujas every year as thousands of idols with flowers and leaves were immersed in the river.

Idol makers use chemicals that poison the water. “So, unless immersion is prohibited, pollution of the river cannot be restricted,” said Ghosh.

According to him, the corporation this year did its best to get the debris cleared from the Hooghly. “The job of clearing the waste is quite expensive. Although the remains are removed, the pollution can’t be stopped altogether as the chemicals mix with water fast.”

Since 2006, the corporation has been setting up enclosures on the riverbank to dump used flowers and leaves. “However, not all flowers and leaves go there,” a CMC official said.

The civic body cannot stop the immersion of idols on its own considering people’s sentiments, the counsel said. “A court order will help the civic body implement the ban.”

Before the Pujas, environment activist Subhash Dutta had moved a petition before the court saying he apprehended further pollution of the river this year. He prayed for an order asking the CMC and the Calcutta Port Trust (CPT), the custodian of the Calcutta side of the Hooghly, to remove the remains of the idols to keep the water clean.

Responding to the petition, a division bench of Chief Justice S.S. Nijjar and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh had directed the CMC and the CPT to take all possible measures to remove the debris within two hours of immersion.

The court had also asked the civic body to file the compliance report.