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Amrita Rao backs postponing annual Ganesh Chaturthi pandal celebration

The actress urged everyone to be eco-conscious ahead of the religious festival that is due in August.

Amrita Rao at a beach clean-up

Our Correspondent

Actress Amrita Rao is proud that her community Ganesh pandal committee has decide to postpone this year's celebration from 21 August to February 2021. The GSB Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava Samiti hosts a pandal at the Ram temple at Wadala and sees lakhs of devotees visiting every year.

“I have been visiting the pandal since childhood and my Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are incomplete without this darshan," Rao said. "However, I am truly impressed and grateful to the GSB Samiti that, without thinking about donations or any other factor, they have postponed their pandal celebration this August in the best interest of the public's health.” The actress hoped other organizations would follow suit.

Mukund Kamat, a trustee and secretary of the GSB trust, stated, “We at the GSB Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava at Shri Dwarakanath Bhavan, Wadala, have taken a conscious decision to postpone this year’s Ganeshotsav to 15 February 2021 which happens to be Maghi Ganapati, ie Shri Ganesh Jayanti, keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not want to risk the health and lives of thousands of devotees who come for darshan during the utsav. By celebrating the utsav in February, we will be doing so in a safer and healthier manner. We thank Madam Amrita Rao for supporting our endeavours and sporting a green heart.”

Rao is also appreciative of the fact that the pandal’s idol (Shri Moorti), though huge, is completely eco-friendly. It is made of shadu mati (clay) and uses eco-friendly colours. The pandal also uses biodegradable containers for prasad, while only fresh flowers and banana leaves are used for pooja and the use of plastic is avoided as much as possible.

The actress also feels that in these uncertain times of the coronavirus pandemic, sarvajanik Ganesh visarjans must be banned by the Mumbai municipal corporation as they are not safe in the monsoon. She believes in going back to our roots where traditionally the Ganesh idols were immersed at home, either in the well of the home compound or even in a bucket of water at home, pouring out the remains into flowers pots or the society garden.

As an environmentally conscious citizen, Rao said, “Nature had to literally lock humans down in their homes to regain its balance. The rivers and lakes have purified themselves from our toxic treatment. [COVID-19] has been a huge wake-up signal from the environment, and as responsible citizens we must strive to keep our environment pure and toxin-free.”

Last year, the actress had launched ‘Eco Bappa Morya’, her own awareness campaign. Through a five-minute video, Rao interacted with idol makers, an oceanography scientist, beach-cleaning activists and chef Vikas Khanna to promote various ways of using eco-friendly idols.

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