A Lord Ganesh idol at a Borivali workshop
A Lord Ganesh idol at a Borivali workshop
BL Soni

The ministry of environment and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Tuesday for the second time, has deferred the ban on Plaster of Paris (PoP) used for making Lord Ganesh idols.

Earlier in May 2020, the CPCB had announced a ban on the usage of PoPs for the making of Ganesh idols. However, owing to the pandemic outbreak and immense loss faced by the sculptors, Prakash Javadekar, minister of environment had deferred the ban till December 31.

Ahead of the Maghi Ganapati (Ganesh Jayanti) celebrations to be held on February 15, Ganesh Mandals of the city had approached the union ministry to defer the ban for the second time, stating the Centre must take the artisans and sculptors in confidence before announcing the ban.

Members of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS) along with Mumbai MLA Ashish Shelar had met Union Minister of Environment - Prakash Javadekar - in Mumbai in the last week of December. Members of the delegation stated, there's not enough clay in the city to manufacture idols for 12,000 mandals and more than 1.5 lakh households, and due to the pandemic outbreak, artisans and sculptors don't have the adequate financial capability to invest in the procurement of clay from elsewhere.

"The pandemic has hit the sculptors badly, we are grateful to the union ministry for understanding our concern and deferring the ban," Naresh Dahibawkar, chairman of BSGSS told FPJ.

He informed union ministry has formed a committee of environmental experts and artisans for assessing the impact of PoPs on the environment and unless the committee submits a full report the ban won't be implemented.

"The ban postponement will bring huge relief to more than 5 lakh artisans in Maharashtra who suffered a huge loss last year," Dahibawkar stated.

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