Civil engineer Ramesh Kher ties up with sculptor friend Vivek Kamble to create Ganpati idols from alum, a substance used by PMC to rid potable water of polluting particulate matter
Ganesh idols made of white soil or shadu and Plaster of Paris (POP) inevitably pollute water when they are immersed at the conclusion of Ganpati festivities. Civil engineer Ramesh Kher (68) feels the answer lies in making idols of the Lord from alum. "Even idols made of wood, stones and iron cause obstructions in the flow of water. The colours used to paint the idols are toxic they pollute our water bodies. So, this year I decided to create an idol from alum to see if it makes a positive difference," said Kher.
Friend indeed Kher's friend Vivek Kamble, a sculptor, has already carved his very first Ganesh idol from alum.
"He took three days to carve the idol and the result is heartening. We will make some more such idols and see how the images fare on the day of immersion. Generally, three kgs of alum dissolve in three days. If all goes as planned, I plan to manufacture 500 such idols next year, and hope to convince people to be more environment conscious," Kher said.
Alum's welcome Incidentally, the PMC uses tons of alum to clean potable water of polluting particulate matter. "My father has over 100 products patented in his name. Making a Lord Ganesh idol from alum is a revolutionary idea. It may take time to catch on, but it will definitely click," said Swachchand Kher, Ramesh Kher's son.
Madhav Gogte, a veteran ecologist and former principal chief forest conservator, Maharashtra, endorsed the idea of creating alum Ganeshas. "I am sure the alum crystal idol will be more pleasing aesthetically. I hope more people follow the concept," he said.
Earlier, Kher had also created idols from jaggery, but did not proceed with the idea because it attracted ants and tended to melt when temperatures rose.