Rishikesh, December 11
In a unique initiative to reduce pollution levels in the Ganga, the Rishikesh district administration will undertake a project as part of which flowers offered by devotees will be used for making organic incense sticks instead of letting them flow down the river.
A blueprint of the pilot project was presented by honourary president of Ganga Safety Plan and Dehradun District Magistrate Ashish Kumar Shrivastava before a government-appointed panel recently, Rishikesh Municipal Commissioner Narendra Singh Quiriyal said.
The idea was appreciated a lot by the panel headed by former chief secretary N Ravishankar and consisting of environmentalists, he said.
The panel selects bureaucrats every year for the Chief Minister’s Award for introducing new initiatives and models for good governance and administration.
“The initiative will not only reduce pollution levels in the Ganga but also launch a new industry for manufacturing organic incense sticks. It will give employment to locals besides furthering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a self-reliant India,” Quiriyal said.
Five flower containers will be kept at Triveni Ghat — the oldest bank of the Ganga in Rishikesh — and unemployed young men will be tasked with collecting flowers offered to deities by devotees in temples and homes and depositing them in the containers, he said.
These youths will be paid by the incense manufacturing units, he said, adding that the state government will not have to spend a single penny on the project.
Initially, the project will be Rishikesh centric. If the experiment succeeds, it will be extended from Gaumukh to Gangasagar, Quiriyal said.
A cottage industry has already been set up in Keregaon for making organic incense sticks out of these flowers by a private entrepreneur. PTI