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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Ashish Shelar demands POP idols not be banned

Ashish Shelar demands POP idols not be banned

Updated on: 20 June,2023 07:43 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sameer Surve | sameer.surve@mid-day.com

MLA says scores of people are dependent on the industry and a ban is not in public interest

Ashish Shelar demands POP idols not be banned

The CPCB has issued guidelines mandating the use of biodegradable materials for idols. File pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The state government has decided to implement Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) rules for those wishing to bring Ganesh idols to their homes, wherein idols will have to be made using biodegradable or shadu clay. However, BJP MLA Ashish Shelar has demanded that the use of plaster of Paris (POP) idols be allowed.


The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had decided to implement the CPCB rules regarding the material used to make Ganesh idols at a meeting held in May, in the presence of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. It was also decided that Ganesh idols for households will have to be less than four feet tall. According to sources, the civic body had conveyed this message to all sculptors and idol-makers in the city. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has appointed a committee to come up with solutions to reduce the pollution caused by POP idols and also suggest alternate materials.


Shelar held a meeting with idol makers on Sunday where he backed the use of POP for idols. “This is a huge industry, having a turnover of Rs 70,000-Rs 80,000 crore. There are scores of people dependent on the industry and any attempt to ban POP idols is not in public interest, not in the interest of Maharashtra and not in the interest of the country either. Scientists have said POP idols can be dissolved scientifically, without causing any harm to the environment. The government should think along these lines,” he said.


According to Shelar, he has already briefed CM Shinde and civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal regarding the issue, and there have been positive discussions. “We are taking a stand to ensure that the employment of Marathi people does not end,” he said.

Justifying his demand, Shelar slammed the BMC saying it has been discharging 3,500 million litres of untreated sewage every day for the past 25 years but has the audacity to say POP idols are causing pollution. “Why have sewage treatment projects not been started despite there being a deposit of Rs 80,000 crore?”

Environmentalist Rohit Joshi said, “If Shelar is backing POP idols, then he should suggest recycling POP to conserve the environment. POP can be recycled if it is treated scientifically, but chemical colours used on idols are hazardous.” He added that hazardous chemicals used on clay idols are also harmful, if the idols are immersed in natural water bodies.

According to Mumbai Murtikar Sanghatna President Vasant Raje, the decision to ban POP idols has been taken by the CPCB and there is no point in protesting against it. “Sculptors in Mumbai are making clay idols.POP idols come from outside the city. We are in favour of making eco-friendly idols,” he said. Meanwhile, Shelar did not respond to the calls by mid-day.

In May 2020, the CPCB issued detailed guidelines banning POP idols, which are said to be the cause of serious pollution in water bodies. The BMC has decided to completely ban POP idols next year, after it received a request for an extension from Ganesh mandals.

4ft
Height restriction for household idols 

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