Alum is a chemical used to purify water, and an alum Ganapati dissolves in river water within three days of immersion.
The first alum idol had become the talk of the town last year.After Kher applied for the alum idol patent and received a provisional certificate allowing him to make more such idols, he collaborated with sculptor Vivek Kamble to make the five idols this year.
“Even PMC’s water supply department uses alum with some other substances to clean water and make it safe for drinking.” Kher said.
“If people go for alum Ganapati visarjan in a tank, the process to purify the water can be carried out and we can collect the water to purify it, and also extract the alum from it to again make idols.”
He said immersion in the river was eco-friendly as alum does not make the water toxic, unlike other materials used to make idols for mandals in the city.
Year of research
Kher did research on making alum idols the entire year and also prepared a mould with his chemical research scholar Prof Talwalkar and engineer Chaitanya Harsure. The big challenge before Kher was making alum deities in the thousands.
Kher’s son Swachchand has taken charge of the task of promoting the alum idols for next year. “We are planning to make alum Ganesh deities in large numbers from next year as it is possible and practicable,” Kher said.
To make the use of alum Ganesh idols widespread, Kher said he wanted to make the technology easy and affordable for the common man so that he could himself make the idols and join the eco-friendly Ganesh movement. “Like silver and brass, alum idols have a long life and can also be reused year after year,” he said.
Dr Pramod Moghe, a noted chemical scientist who retired from the National Chemical Laboratory, said alum idols was a unique idea and if it proved economically viable, people would opt for it to prevent water pollution. Ajinkya Kulkarni, a resident of Sinhagad Road, said he liked the idea of the alum Ganapati idol.
“We are eagerly waiting to get the idol from Kher,” he said. “There are many such water-cleaning agents, but alum is the better option.”