With water crisis looming large due to poor rainfall this monsoon, half of city’s Ganesh mandals and residents led by the “Manache” Ganpati immersed their idols in artificial tanks constructed by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) instead of natural water bodies like rivers, lakes or canals.
This was the first time in the history of Ganesh festival in the city that such a large number of idols were immersed in tanks, and not rivers.
Of the 2,59,827 idols immersed in the city on the immersion day on Sunday, 78,885 were immersed in the rivers, 25,099 in canals, 3,370 in wells and 36 in lakes. Also, residents donated 20,075 idols instead of immersing them in water.
“A total of 1,32,398 idols, including 79,157 idols in artificial tank and 53,241 in steel tank, were immersed in the facility provided by PMC. This is over half of the number of idols immersed on the last day,” said a PMC statement.
The poor rainfall had raised concerns among authorities in managing drinking water needs of the city till the next monsoon. PMC has already introduced 30 per cent water cut in the city with alternate day water supply.
Though the political leadership was reluctant in taking decision of not releasing water for immersion of Ganesh idols, the prominent mandals had come forward on their own and declared that they would do water conservation by immersing idols in the tanks constructed by PMC. This, despite District Guardian Minister Girish Bapat declaring that 0.07 TMC, that is a day’s water need of the city, would be released in river for immersion of Ganesh idol.
PMC had put up banners at various places in the city urging citizens to use civic facility for immersing idols in tanks. Some social organisations were also actively requesting people to not to immerse idol in river, canal or lake.
According to civic officials, the immersion of idols in concrete and steel tanks increased by around 25 per cent this year. “It was mainly due to social responsibility shown by the citizens on conserving water and increased awareness on keeping the natural water bodies clean,” they said.
At present, the water level in the four dams of Khadakwasla, Panshet, Varasgaon and Temghar, which supply water to meet the city’s demands for drinking, have a storage of just over 50 per cent.