The National Green Tribunal today directed the ministries of environment, water resources and human resource development to file their replies to a plea seeking a uniform policy with regard to immersion of idols in rivers and other water bodies during some religious events.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar gave two weeks to them to file their responses and listed the matter on January 15, 2014.
The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by environmentalist Subhas Dutta who has sought "uniform, practical, pragmatic and well-accepted standard operating procedure" for immersion of idols across the country.
"Lakhs of idols are immersed in the rivers and water bodies in the country every year and they are left there to decompose, resulting in damage to the water body and the environment," Dutta told the tribunal.
Referring to an Allahabad High Court order by which there is complete ban on immersion of idols in the Ganga, Dutta has questioned how the same can be allowed in West Bengal or other parts of the country.
"Holding immersion processes and throwing idols in rivers and water bodies have become, superfluous, colourful, competitive, not backed by religious necessity," the petition has said.
In his petition, he has sought setting up of a high powered committee to monitor idol immersions in the country.
He has also suggested that while coming up with the uniform policy for immersion of idols, religious gurus, environmental experts, social activists and scientists be also consulted.