It was a beautiful sight at Hooghly – on the east bank at Baje Kadamtala Ghat. It was height of environment friendly immersion. Festivities continued on immersion day in Kolkata without polluting the river, thus obeying the norms laid down by the Calcutta High Court.
At Baje Kadamtala Ghat, a Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) floating crane was working overtime to pick-up the idols before they get fully dipped. There was a host of dedicated KMC employees, segregating recyclable and non-recyclable materials for final disposal.
Even a score of foreign tourists, who were busy clicking the “amazing sights,” were impressed by the efforts to keep the river clean. “It is indeed magical sights and sounds. The efforts of the civic body to save the river are appreciable,” said Arnold Smith, a tourist from Amsterdam, who came to city to experience the festivity.
Immersions are conducted in Kolkata in the presence of a crane mounted on a barge on the Hooghly, two other cranes on the banks of the river, four pay loaders and a full team of Kolkata Municipal Corporation on each of the 13 most-visited ghats.
On the west bank, it is study of contrast. Immersions were there more traditional. At Ramkrishnapur Ghat or Shibpore Ghat, there were detailed rituals before the immersion. The puja organizers are dipping the idols and taking it as far as possible. The process of immersion is accompanied by frenzied beating of drums and blowing of conch shells. The sight is dramatic but the end result is traumatic for the river and its aquatic lives.
The Calcutta High Court in October 2010 had directed that the guidelines framed by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) are to be followed for cleaning up the river Ganga after immersion of idols. The court also emphasised that it is the duty of the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) and municipalities to clean the river and sea front after idol immersion.
The court directive is followed by 44 municipal bodies, including Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Howrah Municipal Corporation. Subash Dutta had moved a petition seeking the court's intervention to clean up the Ganga after immersion of idols. According to the court guideline, the remains of idols and other debris will have to be removed within 24 hours of immersion.
The removed waste will have to be transported to solid waste dumping sites of the local municipalities and it should be used by idol makers for recycling. The removed waste materials are not be incinerated under any circumstance.