CHENNAI: After two years of Covid-induced lockdown, Chennaiites are now gearing up for the Vinayaka Chaturthi on Wednesday. As the trend had been before the pandemic hit, eco-friendly statues are becoming a hit with the environmental- conscious public.
“COVID had restricted all forms of celebrations. So, this year the celebrations will be grand. Over 1.5 lakh eco-friendly idols in various sizes from 3 feet to 11 feet will be placed on the streets. The procession will happen in 700 places across Tamil Nadu. We’ll also distribute 10 lakh eco-friendly statues made of clay and seeds,” said Gurukulam Rajesh, state joint organising secretary, Hindu Munnani.
“We will make sure other communities also do participate during the procession on Vinayaka Chaturthi. The celebration will be followed as per the directions issued by the state government,” said Gurukulam Rajesh. The public is enthusiastic to buy environmentally friendly statues, especially the ones with seeds. There are many online and offline stores that sell multiple designs of figurines such as Vinayakar riding on a bike, Bahubali Vinayakar and others.
“We’ve been getting good response from customers, especially among children who are enthusiastic to purchase the seed Vinayakar,” said S Shanthi, proprietor, Seeragam, an outlet in Alwarpet that sells organic farm produce.
Instead of immersing the statue in the sea, the public can reuse it as plants at their homes. Vegetable seeds like tomato, okra, beans, radish and brinjal are used inside the idols, which are available in different size and hues. “The price varies as per size and customisation. And we don’t use any chemical which harms the environment,” Shanthi added.
Meanwhile the State police authorities have planned to deploy 20,000 police for security purposes. “Permission has been given to install 3,000 idols within the city limits, Avadi and Tambaram city Commissionerate. One policeman will be on guard near each idol, and they’ll also be working with other departments such as electricity board, fire and safety and Chennai corporation,” informed police sources said.
The TN Pollution Control Board had issued guidelines underwhich only natural, biodegradable, eco-friendly idols will be allowed during the procession. Figurines made of plaster of Paris, chemical paints and hazardous raw materials will be prohibited from immersion into water bodies. “People should use only single-use plastic; there’s a ban on thermocol materials,” TNPCB said in an official communique.