Immersion of Khairatabad Ganesh idol, the Gordian knot


GHMC has found itself in a tight spot with regard to immersion of the mammoth Ganesh idol from Khairatabad, following the Telangana High Court’s refusal to allow immersion in Hussainsagar.

While the government has reportedly appealed to the Supreme Court for revision of the High Court’s directions not to immerse the idols made of plaster of Paris (PoP) in the city’s lakes, authorities are clueless about the outcome of the appeal. One apprehension is that the apex court may not pay heed to the government’s request, as any direction in favour of immersion in Hussainsagar could have ramifications across the country, even in cities where the governments could successfully replace clay idols with PoP.

As per the information received up to Tuesday evening, the special leave petition by the GHMC Commissioner is yet to be admitted by the Supreme Court. As the customary ninth day, when majority of the idols will be immersed is only four days away, the government has not made public any alternative arrangements. Based on the High Court’s directions, the baby pond created near the Sanjeevaiah Park on the Necklace Road should be the immersion site for all idols arriving at Hussainsagar. The baby pond, however, is 60 feet in width and only 15 to 20 feet in depth, and it could be a herculean task to drown the 40-foot standing ‘Panchamukha Ganapati’ of Khairatabad in it.

“The idol wouldn’t be drowned completely in the proper lake. How can we ensure immersion in baby pond?” questions an official throwing up his hands in despair. The HC order allows for an escape clause though, by prohibiting the immersion only in city lakes. The ban is not applicable to lakes outside the city within the purview of HMDA. However, not many are enthused by the gap in the judgement, as it could prove to be an onerous task.

For one, the procession needs to avoid all routes of the Hyderabad Metro Rail, to prevent collision of the idol with the stations. “It will be a long distance for the procession to reach any lake outside the city. We are waiting for directions from the apex court, based on which a decision will be taken,” said Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav, whom the Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samiti representatives met on Tuesday.

The Samiti members, however, are unfazed. They are adamant that the immersion would be carried out from the regular spot in the lake like every year. “The immersion will happen at the same place as last year. High Court directions are to the respondents in the contempt case, not to us. We will go ahead with the immersion, and have requested the government to make arrangements for the same,” said Bhagavanth Rao, General Secretary of the Samiti, when contacted.

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