With Durga Puja just round the corner, there is an increasing trend among puja organisers in the National Capital Region to come up with ideas and themes that would ensure minimum carbon footprint, spread the message of bringing down pollution and saving precious natural resources.

Vaishali Cultural Association (VCA) at Sector 4, Vaishali, Ghaziabad, is celebrating its silver jubilee “Sharodutsav-2018” this year in an eco-friendly manner.

Organising secretary Tagar Sengupta said they aim to blend the gaiety of Durga Puja celebrations with some degree of awareness and responsibility towards the environment. “We decorate our idol and mandap with environment friendly materials and avoid non-biodegradable materials like plastic, cement, Plaster of Paris and paints with toxic dyes. We decided to follow the ancient tradition of constructing the idols from mud, chaff, cloth, wood, paper and other natural materials that are safer when immersed in water,” he said.

VCA’s Durga Puja embraces the ‘Sarbojonin’ concept, a festival open to all. Footfalls have seen a remarkable rise going up to more than 20,000. Since its foundation in 1993, they have renovated and maintained a Prachin Kali Bari temple in Vaishali. An artificial water pool has been set up to carry out idol immersion without harming water bodies. VCA also does philanthropic and charitable work.

VCA president S K Jha said, “Keeping in mind that this year is the 125th anniversary of the historic Chicago address of Swami Vivekananda, this year the Puja pandal is a replica of Belur Math but in the style of the bamboo temple of Manipur made by artistes from Kolkata.”

He added, “We believe in service to mankind is service to God. This year we organised medical check-up camp in association with Chandra Lakshmi Hospital, Sector-4, Ghaziabad, and a blood donation camp. We also donated 250 quilts and one roti-making machine to orphan and destitute children of parents suffering from leprosy at Divya Joyati Prem Sewa Mission of Hardwar.”

Artistes from Kolkata and Mumbai have been invited to perform during the puja celebrations between 16 and 19 October. Celebrity singers Sreepartha and Deipannita will perform on Ashtami.