Sachin Dravekar, TNN 

Nagpur: Though the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) on June 30 passed the ban on the idols made with plaster of paris (PoP) from this year’s Ganesh festival in its general body meeting, the civic body doesn’t seem to be in a mood to implement it.

Now eyeing the upcoming municipal elections, the Bharitya Janata Party (BJP) ruled NMC wants to put the said ban to force from November 1 which is a time after the festival.

A senior BJP leader requesting anonymity informed that though the house has approved the policy decision and sent it to municipal commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal to implement it, party senior leaders are not in favour to implement the ban from this festival season. “Mayor Archana Dehankar soon may ask civic chief to implement the same after festival from November 1,” he said.

Sources at NMC informed that now it has become a routine for BJP-ruled NMC. Every year they promise to ban idols made from PoP to promote an environment-friendly festival. However, due to pressure from traders (mostly BJP activists) and people just before the festival season they revert on their decision.

This year too, senior party leaders realized that the decision could hurt the sentiments of lakhs of devotees and may take their traditional voters away from them. So, next year being election year, BJP do not want to take any chances and hurt sentiments of its voters and has dropped its plans and reiterated intention to enforce the ban with complete dedication from next year, sources added.

Nag-Vidarbha Murtikar and Vikreta Sangh leader Ankush Yelne who recently met Archana Dehankar along with 500 artisans told TOI, “Almost 2 lakh families in city worship Lord Ganesha and huge is the requirement of idols in city. Almost 30,000 Ganesh idols have already arrived. Around 10,000 people are dependent on the business. So banning PoP idols this year will be ill-timed, as such idols have already been manufactured and arrived in the market”.

Mayor Archana Dehankar said, “I know that PoP idols are polluting lakes and rivers in our city and should be banned completely. I have already sent the house decision to civic head to decide about its implementation. However, considering religious sentiments of people, I personally feel to enforce it from next year”.

Recently, environmentalists had thanked civic body and especially mayor Archana Dehankar when they unanimously approved an environment-friendly decision and ban Ganesh idols made of PoP in the city from this year.