Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has decided to drop the idea of creating artificial ponds or domestic Jal Abhisheks to immerse Lord Ganesh idols this year. However, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has issued a circular, stating that devotees won’t be able to immerse the idols on their own. Instead, 52 idol collection centers have been set up at strategic locations in all the six administrative wards across the twin city.
Devotees can perform the pre-immersion puja at home and then handover the idol at the immersion centres. The initiative would ensure that devotees don’t have to travel long distances for immersion. Moreover, it will also prevent crowds from gathering, officials said. “We will extend our support to the immersions facilitated in housing society premises,” said an MBMC officer.
Notably, the twin city has shown more of its eco-friendly side. A significant number of devotees preferred immersions in the artificial ponds created by the civic body. The encouraging response is evident from the significant jump in the number of eco-friendly immersions from 195 in 2018 to 540 in 2019. Taking a cue from their counterparts in Pune, the MBMC in 2017 had introduced Jal Abhishek, a unique environment-friendly technology that involves mixing of ammonium bi-carbonate (baking powder) with water to dissolve idols made of Plaster of Paris. However, the initiative had failed due to the lack of awareness in the twin city. The total number of Lord Ganesh idols that graced the twin city during the 11-day festival had touched 20,569 in 2019 as compared to 20,543 in 2018. The figures include a maximum number of household idols. There are 22 public immersion points in the twin city.