Women entrepreneurs urge people to use eco-friendly Ganesh idols

Making a change: WEB members with their ‘Eco Ganesh’ model.

Making a change: WEB members with their ‘Eco Ganesh’ model.  

Women’s group is propagating the use of clay idols without colour

A group of women entrepreneurs are striving hard to make city dwellers install eco-friendly Ganesh idols for Ganesh Chaturthi this time.

Women Entrepreneurs of Belagavi, (WEB) a group of around two dozen businesswomen are propagating clay idols without colour, through their ‘Eco Ganesh project’. They have been sourcing locally made clay idols of Ganesh and trying to sell them through their members’ shops. They are campaigning online and offline about the need to use eco-friendly idols instead of the plaster of Paris models with lead laden paint.

An added feature of the idols sold by WEB is that they come with seed balls that will sprout into flower-bearing plants. Each idol is sold with a plastic pot in which it must be dissolved after immersion. The pot has coco peat that absorbs the clay and provides a soft bed for the plant to grow.

WEB is discouraging households from immersing idols in wells and tanks. “We are appealing to families to carry out the visarjan (immersion) in the pot so that the Ganesh can bloom into a flower a few weeks later,” says Babita Bhatkhande, who runs a sports store.

Ms. Bhatkhande has been visiting the Ganesh mandals around the city. “Belagavi boasts of 350 big mandals and several other smaller ones that install Ganesh idols in public places. We have been asking them to install a clay idol at least for the smaller one used everyday,” she said.

“We tried the experiment on a small scale last year, but could sell only a few idols,” said Jyotsna Pai, who manages a baking unit. A lot needs to be done to create awareness about eco-friendly practices,” she added.

It is difficult to convince families to part with tradition. Some think we are speaking of environment protection as our businesses are affected. We tell them that Eco Ganesha is an expression of our commitment, and not business,” says Anita Kanabaragi, a financial advisor.

Pooja Netalkar, who operates an automobile company, said, “We are targeting the Belagavi city market as of now. We plan to expand to other cities and States in phases as we improve our logistics.”

WEB, set up two years ago, works on the lines of the hugely successful LEEDs model in USA that helps members strengthen each other’s businesses. Apart from the Eco Ganesha project the members have been organising talks by life coaches, and arranging training camps for children.

Details can be obtained from the group members at 9686135964, 9972510111 or 9845030287.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 4:04:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/women-entrepreneurs-urge-people-to-use-eco-friendly-ganesh-idols/article19494283.ece

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