The Central Puja Committee (CPC) in Meghalaya has issued an advisory to all puja and mandir committees to adhere to guidelines in order to ensure environment friendly Durga Puja celebrations.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, CPC president Naba Bhattacharjee said like every year, puja celebration will begin with a get-together for harmony and all-faith prayer for peace and harmony in Shillong on Wednesday.
Religious leaders from different faiths will attend the get together in the presence of chief minister, Conrad K Sangma, Shillong MP Vincent H. Pala besides leaders of various political parties and organizations.
The ensuing Durga Puja celebrations will be held from October 4 to 8.
There are as many as 242 community Durga Puja pandals in Meghalaya which include 118 in Khasi Hills districts, 14 in Jaiñtia Hills and 110 in Garo Hills districts.
CPC is a representative body responsible in coordinating activities related to Durga Puja celebration throughout Meghalaya in general and Greater Shillong in particular.
The CPC is also the principal channel of communication between the state and district administrations and individual puja committees in facilitating smooth conduct of different rituals and other related functions associated with Durga Puja.
Bhattacharjee said devotees of Maa Durga should take a pledge for extra efforts on environment friendly puja celebration by saying no to plastic of all forms.
He said the devotees can seek total ban on plastic/pet water bottles, plastic/thermocol plates, plastic cups, plastic glass, plastic pouches for prasad distribution and all other materials made of plastic.
“They should be replaced with bio-degradable products like earthen/paper based cups or drinking water glass, plates made from leaf, paper produces and packets,” he said.
He also urged the Shillong Municipal Board to make arrangements for opening plastic collection centres in all Puja pandal premises during all days of Durga Puja and devotees should utilize the services extended by the Board.
Bhattacharjee said idols should be eco-friendly, no chemical paints should be used on idols as it pollutes the water and environment.
Painting the idols with is a better option adding that the CPC Meghalaya since 2009 has been impressing upon idol makers to use natural colours (dyes from flowers or other natural products) for painting of idols besides eco friendly decorating products.
He also called upon all puja pandals to use energy saving lightings such as CFL bulbs or other energy saving electrical products, use of public transport to reduce congestion during any festive celebration.
Bhattacharjee informed that flex banners which is synthetic (Polyester and Nylon based) and harmful on single use will have to be deposited on the day after Dashami (Immersion day) by all Puja Committees to representatives of CPC at immersion Ghat, Polo, between 11 AM to 5 PM on October 9 for further necessary action of disposal by CPC, Meghalaya.
Bhattacharjee said that the CPC has tied up with San Shnong Youth Welfare Organization, Upper Shillong to use these flex banners for the benefit of poor families to cover their roof tops.
CPC general secretary, J L Das said that the CPC has also advised all Puja Committee not to immerse idols in any stream or river.
“All idols including Durga are to be immersed in designated immersion Ghat located at the bank of Umkhrah river at Polo,” said Das.
“All Puja Committees and owners of private Puja Committees are requested to use only the immersion Ghat at Polo for immersion of idols after worshipping,” he added.