Twenty-seven NCP corporators purchased eco-friendly Ganapati idols from party city president and MP Vandana Chavan’s NGO SMILE yesterday. The corporators were reportedly acting on instructions from the party, an unofficial whip of sorts.
On the first day of the sale of Ganpatis, all 200 idols available were booked. Mayor Vaishali Bankar was the first customer. Bankar also inaugurated the sale of the eco-friendly Ganapati idols.
Chavan, who organised the sale on a big scale, said: “As part of party policy, we had brought 200 eco-friendly Ganapati idols made with shadu soil and painted with natural colours from Pen in Konkan.
This is not compulsory for our party men, but we are together trying to spread the message that people should go for an eco-friendly Ganpati Utsav with this as we think it will be an effective way of doing so.”
SMILE is an NGO for women run by Chavan, who said: “I am happy that all the Ganapati idols are booked and will be taken by our party men and municipal corporators. The idols are in three different sizes and cost Rs 360, Rs 660 and Rs 1,000 respectively. They are selling fast, thanks to my party colleagues.”
Among the purchasers were former mayor Mohansingh Rajpal, corporators Ravindra Malvadkar, Subhash Jagtap, Bhagwan Salunke, Roopali Chakurkar and Sunita More, and former corporator Shashikala Kumbhar.
The NCP also released a 10-point ‘Shri Ganeshnama’ for an eco-friendly Ganeshotsav. “Many corporators who were busy in a meeting of the Women and Child Welfare Board at the PMC main building will visit and purchase the idols later,” Jagtap said.
Manisha Gutman, founder, Eco-exist Enterprises, who took up the initiative to provide 200 eco-friendly Ganapatis to Chavan and her group, said: “It is a good thing that eco-friendly Ganapati is becoming popular among political parties as well and we have made about 2,500 Ganapati idols with shadu and Multani soil that have been painted with geru and haldi.
These idols easily dissolve in water and the colours cause no harm. Fortunately, the NCP is the ruling party in Pune and this way we can strengthen the eco-friendly Ganpati Utsav celebrations. We have put these idols on sale at Kothrud, MG Road, Kalyani Nagar and Baner.”
Mayor Bankar said: “I myself am monitoring the eco-friendly Ganpati Utsav in Pune. Installing shadu-made Ganapati idols at home will certainly spread the message of keeping the environment clean. Shadu Ganpati idols are costlier compared to idols made with plaster of Paris, but we must use shadu and keep our rivers clean.”