The National Mission for Clean Ganga has issued directives to the states disallowing immersion of idols into river Ganga and its tributaries during the upcoming festivals.
As per the NMCG missive sent to the states under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act 1986, the District Magistrates concerned will enforce the directions. In cases of violations, a fine of Rs 50,000 as environment compensation will be levied and deposited with the state Pollution Control Boards.
An ‘action taken report’ on compliance of the directions will be submitted to the NMCG by officials within seven days of the end of each festival like Dussehra, Deepawali, Chhath Puja, Saraswati Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi, and Vishwakarma Puja.
While immersion of idols into river Ganga is not allowed, the NMCG has also directed that river banks and ghats should be cordoned off and barricaded to prevent any stray immersion.
Designated idol immersion sites should be arranged, as per the directive, within the municipal area of the banks of Ganga by constructing temporary confined pools with removable synthetic liners at the bottom.
The idols should not be made of any synthetic material or non-bio-degradable paints which has been prohibited.
The guidelines also specify the arrangement of separate bins on the banks of the river for collecting flowers, decoration material and other such items which also have to be recycled.
Within 48 hours of the idol immersion, all the leftover material at the designated idol immersion sites should be collected by the local bodies and disposed of as per guidelines. An awareness campaign will also be launched to sensitise the local communities to the new guidelines by the authorities.
The directives have been sent to the state governments of Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan and Haryana.