Ganesh Chaturthi begins amid gaiety in Telugu states

Religious fervour and gaiety marked Ganesh Chaturthi in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Thousands of idols were installed by people in towns and villages across both the Telugu states.

The 10-day festivities began with pomp and gaiety. Hectic activity was seen in markets in Hyderabad and other towns in Telangana and in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh with devotees buying idols and puja material.

Large number of huge idols were seen being transported in trucks to different parts of Greater Hyderabad and in other districts.

Devotees offered puja since morning at their homes, temples and in specially-erected pandals.

Telangana Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan and her Haryana counterpart Bandaru Dattatreya worshipped the famous Ganesh idol at Khairatabad. This year, the organisers have installed 50-feet tall idol made of clay.

Telangana Minister T. Srinivas Yadav, MLA Danam Nagender and other elected representatives offered worship at Khairatabad Ganesh, the tallest idol in both the states.

Large number of devotees from Hyderabad and other districts made a beeline to offer puja at Khairatabad. Police imposed traffic restrictions in the area to ensure smooth conduct of the festivities.

The Governor said she was happy to participate in first puja to Khairatabad Ganesh. She said she prayed for the prosperity and well being of people.

For the second consecutive year, the festival is being celebrated in Telangana without any Covid-19 restrictions.

Unlike last year when the 10-day festival in Andhra Pradesh was confined to homes in view of the pandemic, this year authorities allowed installation of idols in public places.

The festival will conclude with massive immersion procession in Hyderabad on September 9. Hundreds of idols are immersed every year in Hussain Sagar lake in the heart of the city and several other lakes in and around the state capital.

However, this year authorities will allow immersion of Ganesh idols made of plaster of Paris (PoP) only in baby/artificial ponds and not Hussain Sagar Lake.

The Supreme Court had last year allowed immersion of PoP idols for the last time and has asked Telangana authorities to come up with a plan for immersions at an alternate place.

The authorities have built 50 ponds in addition to the 25 already existing for immersion of idols.

The Telangana High Court on September 9, 2021 directed the state government not to allow immersion of Ganesh idols made of PoP in Hussain Sagar Lake and other lakes in and around Hyderabad.

On a petition filed by the state government, the High Court refused to modify its order. The state government subsequently filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. The apex court allowed immersion of PoP idols for one last time.

The court directed the government to permit immersion of PoP Ganesh idols in baby ponds constructed by the GHMC or separate areas/ponds which do not result in the spread of pollution into the main water body.

The state government has also taken steps to promote environment-friendly Ganesh idols. It has distribute a total of six lakh idols made of clay this year.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) alone distributed four lakh idols made of clay. The Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB) and the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) distributed one lakh idols each.

Khairatabad Ganesh committee, which installs the tallest idol every year, has installed idol made of clay this year.

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