To be able to reduce the pollution burden resulting from the large-scale immersion of idols as part of Vinayaka Chaturthi festivities, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) is working towards supplying mud idols for the festival this year.

HMDA has tied up with M.Vijaya Ram of a voluntary agency, Society for Awareness and Vision on Environment (SAVE) to prepare around 50,000 small mud idols that will be distributed free of cost. “Once these idols made from mud are ready and before the festival, we are planning to set up a distribution network and offer them free of cost,” says the HMDA Member Environment Sunil Kumar Gupta.

While these idols are of smaller size for devotees to take home, 500 bigger ones, measuring just above four feet, are also being prepared. These will be offered to ‘pandals' and carry the message on environment protection. The HMDA is sharing half of the cost and its share works out to be around Rs.13 lakh, informs Mr. Gupta.

For last several years, the issue of immersion of idols in Hussainsagar has been giving rise to debate on the possibilities of polluting the lake water given the usage of material such as plaster of Paris, iron metal and colours. In view of the deterioration of water quality at the lake, also resulting from other aspects such as inflow of industrial effluents and others, the HMDA has taken up a project to clean it.

This year, the HMDA is also planning to explore the possibilities of convincing three to four colonies in coming together to set up a ‘pandal' instead of each having one of their own. If this gets through, the idea being worked is to focus on about 100 colonies and then tie them up with identified water bodies for immersion.