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Vishwakarma Puja: Thromde officials prevented more than 200 statues from going into the Thimchhu.
Vishwakarma Puja: Thromde officials prevented more than 200 statues from going into the Thimchhu.

From the river to the banks

Following the restrictions on immersing statues in the river, more than 200 statues of Lord Vishwakarma from construction sites in Thimphu are lying at the banks of Thimchhu at Babesa.

The forest department on September 16 issued a notification prohibiting immersing statues in the river after the Vishwakarma puja. The National Environment Commission (NEC) also issued a notice restricting disposing of waste, including from ritual into the water bodies.

With words of the notification spreading fast and officials monitoring the riverbanks yesterday, they prevented the statues from landing into the river.

Thromde officials said they would wait for two more days for statues from other construction sites, automobile workshops and industries in the capital to accumulate before deciding on what to do with the statues.

 “We will discuss with the NEC and other implementing agencies to designate an appropriate site to place the statues,” a thromde official said. Thromde officials will also consult Hindu Pandits to find out if immersing the statues were necessary.  “If it is necessary, we will explore ways of immersing into the rivers across the border.”

Meanwhile, in Paro, the festival came to an end with immersion ceremony of statues into the river. Kuensel spotted groups of construction workers immersing statues in the Pachhu at Shaba. Workers were also seen burning waste from the rituals like deflated balloons, papers, plastics and synthetic ribbons in an open dump yard.

According to forestry officials who were on inspection at the site, only the statues were allowed to go into the river as there were no alternative planned for its disposal.

“Without any alternatives in place, we had to decide everything on the spot,” one said.

An official said that to prevent the waste from entering into the river, burning waste was found to be an option.

“If we ask them to dispose of the waste in the landfill, we can’t assure where they would dump it.”

The workers claimed that they couldn’t keep home anything from the rituals, according to an official. A Hindu devotee said that immersing the statue is a part of the festival. “The puja (ritual) will be incomplete without immersing the statue in the river,” he said.

Meanwhile, inspections are underway from Dechencholing to Babesa, along the Wangchhu.

Chimi Dema

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