Residents continue to immerse idols in the waterbody

After the immersion, it’s time for the clean-up.

The Kottaikulam, one of the two perennial water sources in Dindigul, is clogged with papier-maché Vinayaka idols, puja materials and other waste.

T. Iyyanar of R.V. Nagar, a scrap iron worker, has taken up the mission to remove the waste. "I cannot stop people from immersing idols in the tank. That would l hurt their sentiments. But I want to convert the tank into a clean water storage area and rainwater harvesting structure," says Iyyanar.

Hindu Munnani and BJP cadre dropped 62 giant-sized idols into the tank. After 24 hours, coconut husk, casuarina poles and other raw materials used for making the idols were floating on the water.

In addition, thousands of families living around Rock Fort immersed clay idols in the tank.

Garlands, banana saplings and decorative materials too were thrown in.

The tank is reduced to a storage depth of 9 ft.

Iyyanar cleared 200 clay idols from the tank yesterday and 60 idols till noon on Thursday. Plastic bags, tree branches, broken earthen pots, glass bottles, and 400 bricks have been removed from the water so far.

People use the Kottaikulam as a garbage dump, he despairs.

He has sacrificed his daily wage of Rs.350 to complete his mission. He has not reported for work for the past three months.

School students, who accompanied him in his earlier mission, could not join him this time owing to the examinations. But he is undeterred.

“My mother Thamizh Selvi motivated me to clean up the tank,” Iyyanar recalls.

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