Hyderabad: Telangana High Court on Thursday banned the immersion of Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols of Lord Ganesh in Hussain Sagar.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M.S. Ramchandra Rao and Justice T. Vinod Kumar also ordered that immersion of Ganesh Idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) should be allowed at only designated spots earmarked for idol immersion on Necklace Road.

The bench also said that devotees should consider reducing the height of the idols and suggested that idols kept at homes should be immersed by devotees in their home itself.

Earlier on Tuesday, the bench came down heavily on the state government for not implementing the directives of Central Pollution Control Board (PCB) to ban idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP).

The court said the government does not seem to be serious in enforcing the rules and thereby causing pollution in the water bodies during Ganesha Chaturthi.

The court sought to know why the PCB was not acting despite having powers. "Are you a toothless tiger? Why are you not checking the pollution of Hussain Sagar?" the court asked.

The court reserved its orders in a contempt case filed by advocate M Venumadhav against the GHMC Commissioner, Pollution Control Board and the Hyderabad Commissioner of Police for not implementing the court orders.

He had prayed for restraining people from immersing PoP idols in Hussain Sagar as the lake has already reached the highest level of pollution.

When government counsel tried to explain that all measures to clean up water bodies were taken up immediately after the immersion, the court commented that they were doing it with public money. "You are not interested in implementing the rules, but spending taxpayers' money. It should be prevented," the bench said.

Citing the Central PCB rules, the acting CJ asked the government counsel if the State government had banned the use of PoP idols. When government counsel contended that idols made of PoP were not harmful to the environment, the bench made it clear that the CPCB had prohibited using such idols.

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