Goa may subsidise over 50,000 Ganesh idols
In a bid to promote eco-friendly clay idols over those made with Plaster of Paris (PoP), the Goa government is likely to subsidize over 50,000 Ganesh idols made by local artisans this year.
Lavu Mamledar, chairman of the Goa State Handicrafts Rural and Small Scale Industries development corporation (GSHRSSDC), said Monday that the corporation itself would be more aggressive in selling clay idols throughout Goa, to keep the ecologically damaging PoP idols at bay.
“Through these subsidies the idea is to promote the local artisan and idols made of Plaster of Paris,” Mamledar told a press conference Monday.
He said over 75,000 idols were manufactured in Goa annually, out of which one third were subsidized by the corporation.
“We offer a subsidy of Rs.100 per idols, up to 250 idols per person,” he said, adding that last year alone over 58,000 idols had been subsidized. This year, a couple of weeks before Ganesh Chaturthi, the GSHRSSDC had received applications for subsidy from 577 artisans, he said.
“We are trying our best to ensure that PoP idols are not used in the state,” he said, adding that the corporation had also tied up with a Pune-based green NGO which specialized in making paper mache Ganesh idols.
Cheap, Plaster of Paris idols are banned in Goa, but their cost effectiveness and better finishing ensures that they continue to have a market in Goa and other places which celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi.
However its hazardous gypsum, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium content, as well as lead paints, disintegrates slowly and in the process poisons the waters of lakes, ponds, rivers, besides choking beds of water bodies where the idols are immersed.
Mamledar also said that this year round, the corporation would also aggressively sell idols on its own through five vending stations, located across the state.
Ganesh Chaturthi is considered the most important Hindu religious festival in Goa and will be held Sep 9 this year.
Indo-Asian News Service