It is highly irresponsible that after having failed in its attempt to move High court to hear in lunch motion on September 12, the Telangana government is now going for an appeal against the high court order of September 9 wherein, POP idol immersion was banned in all lakes.
Immersion of any idol was banned from Tank Bund side of Hussain Sagar. It was among the 12 points of the order. More than 75,000 idols must make their way to the water body is their contention in spite of the CPCB guidelines in their knowledge since the past decade and the revised meticulous guidelines issued on May 12, 2020.
It is disgusting to see that the elaborate arrangements were being made to pollute the lake by spending crores of rupees. From 2013-2017, more than 30 crores have been spent to pollute the Hussain Sagar and other lakes in Hyderabad through the immersion of idols. GOs on information on idol immersion from 2018 is not available on GO website.
There are scams of crores of rupees in contracts of bio-remediation, and in dumping secretariat debris in the Hussain Sagar, and in dismantling its weir, tampering/lowering with the FTL, and continuously allowing non-flood waters, thus surreptitiously dewatering the lake and causing its extinction. Lakebed is being exposed alongside the necklace road and numerous constructions/memorials are underway not to mention the 10-acre plotting near Brahmanwadi inside the FTL boundary of the Hussain Sagar. Even as the government is silent on the representations filed in the NGT against all the aforesaid illegalities, it is going to appeal to the High Court to permit it to continue the pollution of the Hussain Sagar. While the land dump is increasing in the Hussain Sagar retention of rainwater is decreasing by the day due to the shrinking holding capacity of the lake and continuous non-flood outflows.
Shirking its bounden duty the government of Telangana accepts the challenge of the Ganesh Utsav Samiti that cites continuous pollution of sewage, industrial, and solid waste, as a reason for immersion of idols in the already polluted waters of all lakes of the GHMC.
GOVERNMENT TAKING SHELTER IN FALSE EXCUSES OF IDOLS ALREADY MANUFACTURED, WHEREAS IN MARCH 2021 BEFORE JOINT COMMITTEE IN OA 85/2015 NGT CASE OF HUSSAIN SAGAR PETITIONER HAD BROUGHT THE CPCB GUIDELINES TO THE NOTICE OF ALL THE OFFICIALS AND JOINT COMMITTEE
Please see below slide from the petitioner's presentation on March 3, 2021 to the joint committee and the officials of HMDA, TSPCB, and GHMC, at the Begumpet TSPCB office. The SE HMDA, SE Hyderabad lakes, JCEE-TSPCB, and other officials were present in the hall.
Hence, the government cannot take shelter in the false excuses before the high court that it is taken by surprise by the high court order. The government seems in habit of misguiding and lying before the court.
It is imperative to mention here that the Joint Committee appointed by NGT did not give recommendations in its report for strict implementation of CPCB guidelines in spite of petitioner appealing in the presentation for the same.
GANESH UTSAV SAMITI MAY CHALLENGE THE UNION MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND CPCB
The Ganesh Utsav Samiti may challenge the Union Ministry of MoEF&CC and Central pollution control board against the guidelines issued on 12 May 2020, instead of challenging the government of Telangana to go for appeal against the High Court Order, an order, that sought to protect the lakes from further pollution and to drive sense and application of mind into the public and public servants.
It is ironic that the meticulously laid guidelines to preserve both the culture of Ganesh festival as well as the water bodies that are lifelines does not get acceptability from the Ganesh Utsav Samiti and its political affiliates, rather they are opposing the High court order that sought to implement the scientific and democratically laid down guidelines of the CPCB for benefit of society.
HYDERABAD HIGH COURT FALLS SHORT OF - BOMBAY HIGH COURT CALLS POP IDOLS AS POP OBJECTS
High Court of Telangana in its order dated 9 September 2021 instead of totally endorsing the well-thought-out CPCB guidelines and ordering for its total implementation, allowed on the other hand immersion of non-POP idols in the lakes.
It is to be noted that the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court directed idol makers that the idols made from Plaster of Paris (PoP) have to be sold as "PoP objects" and "not as idols intended for any kind of worship or to be immersed in any water body" (Vinodkumar Rameshchand Gupta & Anr. v. Union of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Control & Ors.)'
Lakes and water bodies are not for immersion of idols/tazias, which can go to the extreme of idols of any heights any volume and made out of any substance. They have a set purpose and sanctity as defined in all the laws of the land and Constitution of India.
CLIMATE EMERGENCY - IPCC REPORT OF AUGUST 2021
Even the latest report on climate crisis from IPCC released in august 2021 highlights the importance of conservation of water bodies as the counter to warming of temperatures that are an existential threat. See picture from IPCC below.
It's the bounden duty of the government of Telangana to demonstrate that they shall neither compromise with the law nor with the wellbeing of the people. But contrary to its role and without application of mind it is filing reviewing petition before the high court on Monday to remove all restrictions to keep the lakes healthy and to give it the freedom to pollute and destroy the lakes. It is required of the government to admit its mistake and not bow down to the pressures of Samiti or its political affiliates.
The Government must amend its review/appeal petition and seek complete implementation of the CPCB 2020 guidelines that totally ban immersion of any form of idol/tazia in any water bodies, and thus fulfill its duty towards people and demonstrate its sense and science.
The Author, Dr. Lubna Sarwath is a petitioner at NGT for pollution-free Hussain Sagar in a case filed in April 2015 when the government started dewatering Hussain Sagar. The case has been adjourned without hearing from 7 Sep 2021 to 28 Sep 2021.