Ahead of festivals of Diwali and Chhath, the National Green Tribunal today said idol immersion in river Yamuna was not completely prohibited but can be done only from the designated places, saying its earlier order has been misconstrued.
“We have never said that there is complete prohibition from idol immersion in river Yamuna. Our earlier order has been misconstrued. We respect the sentiments and faith of all religions. What we have said is that idol immersion should be done from a designated place so that the river doesn’t get polluted,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.
The bench said it cannot allow the river to be polluted and hence its earlier order had prohibited throwing of puja materials from anywhere, except from the designated ghats.
The green panel’s observation came on a plea filed by one Ojasvi Party which claimed that due to the earlier order banning of idol immersion in Yamuna, religious faith and sentiments of thousands of people has been hurt.
The plea, filed through one Swami Om ji, who claimed that during Diwali and Chhath several people have been immersing idols for past several years and due to tribunal’s earlier order, their religious sentiments would be hurt once again.
The bench asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Delhi Government, Central Pollution Control Board and civic bodies to constitute a committee immediately and designate more space for idol immersion.
“You can develop a mechanism, where idols could be immersed and not just let it take it a dip and let it float or submerged for a distance and pulled out from a latter point,” the bench told advocate Balendu Shekher appearing for East Delhi Municipal Corporation after he submitted that as per tribunal’s earlier order, proper compliance was being ensured.
Shekher submitted that in the 24 km stretch of river Yamuna, nine enclosures have been made to facilitate idol immersion during festivals and later, the waste is culled out of the river.
The bench asked the counsels to constitute a committee today itself and make arrangments for more designated places or ghats for proper idol immersion during upcoming festivals on urgent basis from tomorrow.