New Delhi: In a bid to control the pollution in Ganga, the Central Government has banned immersion of idols in the Hindu holy river and its tributaries.

According to The Indian Express, the National Mission For Clean Ganga (NMCG) has issued directives to 15 Ganga basin states banning immersion of idols in the Ganga or its tributaries during festivals, including Dussehra, Diwali, Chhath and Saraswati Puja.

The states that were issued the directive are Uttarakhand, Uttar Prades, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Rajasthan.

According to the guideline issued, a fine of Rs 50,000 will be imposed for the immersion of idol in Ganga or its tributaries. The officials have been told to strictly enforce the rules and make alternative arrangements in an “environment-friendly manner”. The directive also talks of cordoning off ghats to prevent people from entering into the river.

It further states:

“All concerned state government, authority, board or corporation should ensure that there is no use of synthetic material/ non-biodegradable material, Plaster of Paris (POP), baked clay, resin fibers and thermocol for making of idols. Besides, the use of toxic and non-biodegradable chemical dyes or synthetic paints for painting of idols should be strictly prohibited.”

This decision was taken after representatives of states and NMCG officials met to discuss ways to prevent pollution of the river.

With a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore, the NMCG was set up as ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Narendra Modi government in June 2014 for rejuvenation and protection of the Ganga river.