5 Sep 2023 3:45 AM GMT
The Bombay High Court on Monday sought to know from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) the measures it has implemented to ensure eco-friendly idol immersion in the lakes inside of Aarey Milk Colony during the upcoming Ganpati Chaturthi festival.A division bench of Chief Justice Devendra Upadhyaya and Justice Arif S Doctor was hearing a PIL filed by the NGO Vanshakti challenging...
The Bombay High Court on Monday sought to know from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) the measures it has implemented to ensure eco-friendly idol immersion in the lakes inside of Aarey Milk Colony during the upcoming Ganpati Chaturthi festival.
A division bench of Chief Justice Devendra Upadhyaya and Justice Arif S Doctor was hearing a PIL filed by the NGO Vanshakti challenging the BMC's decision to permit idol immersions in three lakes within the colony, namely, Chota Kashmir Lake, Kamal Lake and Ganesh Mandir Lake. The colony is an eco-sensitive zone.
Vanashakti challenged a letter from BMC to the CEO of Aarey Dairy stating that the lakes are required for immersion of Ganpati idols. When BMC officials visited the lake, it was closed. Thus, BMC wrote the aforementioned letter, as per the petition. The petition has claimed that the BMC, in another letter to the CEO, stated that MLA Ravindra Waikar has requested for immersion of the idols in the lakes.
The court noted that immersion of idols made from non-biodegradable materials in natural water bodies is prohibited by a 2008 HC judgment as well as guidelines by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The CPCB guidelines also ban idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP). Therefore, court asked the BMC how it could issue letters permitting the immersion of idols in natural water bodies.
The court directed the BMC to file an affidavit outlining the specific actions taken to ensure compliance with the guidelines. The court also suggested the creation of artificial ponds for idol immersion. The court kept the case for further hearing on September 8.
Vanshakti has urged the court to direct authorities to prevent idol immersion in lakes within Aarey Colony and establish alternate facilities, like artificial tanks, for idol immersion outside Aarey Colony. It has also sought directions to the BMC for formulation of regulations to prohibit idol manufacturing and immersion in the colony, especially idols made of PoP non-biodegradable materials.
The petition also prays for advanced preparations for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, including the construction of artificial lakes, public awareness campaigns, and increased enforcement to curb idol immersion in these ecologically sensitive areas. The petition seeks to restrict promotional activities encouraging idol immersion in the lakes. Pending the court's decision, the petitioners have asked for immediate measures to prevent idol immersion during the 2023 Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
Case no. – PIL(L)/24245/2023 [Original]
Case Title – Vanashakti Public Trust v. Muncipal Corporation Of Greater Mumbai