Millennium Post

Sovan distributes lead-free colours among Kumartuli artisans

Kolkata: The state Environment department is contemplating to impose a ban on colours containing lead that are used to paint Durga idols, Sovan Chatterjee, its minister said on Wednesday.
The move has been taken to save the aquatic animals in river Hooghly and other waterbodies where Durga idols are immersed. Chatterjee on Wednesday distributed lead-free paints to the artisans of Kumartuli.
"The lead-free colours are as bright as other colours and the Durga images that will be painted with these colours will be bright and not dull," he said. He maintained that all the artisans of Kumartuli will be given the colours. "Though Durga Puja is barely two weeks away, the artisans use the colours during this time to give finishing touches to the idols and it is because of this, lead-free
paints were distributed among them today (Wednesday)," he said.
Chatterjee said that steps have already been taken to make Ganga pollution-free to save the aquatic animals and similar steps will be taken to ensure that waterbodies in the districts are saved. The colours containing lead put a serious threat to aquatic animals and as many Durga idols in the districts are immersed in the waterbodies, a proposal to ban colours containing lead is being considered.
Chatterjee said that keeping Kolkata Municipal Corporation as the nodal agency, the state Pollution Control Board will be involved to prepare norms which will be followed by street food vendors.
Lakhs of people take food from street vendors every day and thus, steps to look into its quality is urgently required. The KMC
regularly conducts raids to ensure that colours that are not permitted are not used in food. "The street food vendors should follow the norms to give healthy food to their customers and at the same time, they should follow environment-friendly norms while cooking."
The Environment department has been campaigning for the past few years urging the artisans to use lead-free colours. But the artisans refused to use them on the ground that the colours are costly and not bright. To remove this misconception from the minds of the artisans, the Environment department had carried out sustained campaigns showing the effects of the colours on the idols and this has yielded results.
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