Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to close down the Sion talao (pond) for immersion of Ganpati idols from next year. This decision comes in the wake of reports of fish and other marine life dying during the process. The corporation has displayed a banner near the pond gate to inform devotees about the change.
Sion talao is an 80-year-old water body in Mumbai and every year, thousands of devotees bring their idols for immersion here. The Shiv Sena’s local civic representatives have expressed their disappointment at this decision to close down the pond for visarjan without providing any alternative. Sena corporator Mangesh Satamkar also raised the issue earlier in the standing committee meeting, asking the corporation to roll back its decision back, since they had done so without speaking to any local representative from the civic ward. Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) councillor Rajashree Shirvadkar suggested the BMC should first create an artificial lake next to the Sion talao, after which it could shut it for visarjan. Leader of the Opposition, Ravi Raja, also supported Satamkar’s objection and lambasted the civic body for taking the decision at the administrative level and not involving local representatives.
On the fifth day of Ganpati immersion in Mumbai, this year alone more than 45,000 Ganesh idols were immersed at different places. As per BMC data, 8,209 idols were immersed in artificial ponds, while 32, 209 people used natural water bodies for immersion. According to last year’s immersion day records, 40,572 Ganpati idols were immersed across the city on the last day of Ganeshutsav, of which 7,034 were mandal Ganpatis and 33,350 were household Ganpatis.
Meanwhile, the BMC is also undertaking various remedial measures to revive the Sion talao. After several instances of dozens of fish being reported dead in this lake and other water bodies in the city after dissolved oxygen (DO) levels dropped below the prescribed limits. “As per the Central Pollution Control Board, the permissible limit of DO level for propagation of wildlife and fisheries is 4 mg/l or more. Hence, fountains will be set up in the lake. Aerators will be used to improve DO levels and circulation of water,” said a BMC official.
“Porbac, a chemical, will be sprayed into the lake through the fountains. DO level readings will be constantly monitored and samples of water will be tested. We will also carry out a raiment of algae and weeds, a regular exercise to revive the lake,” added the official.