With the idea of creating awareness among the general masses on the preservation of our rapidly degrading environment, the Ecotourism Society of North East India instituted the Prakriti Award this year, to be given away to the ‘Best Eco-Friendly Durga Puja’ in Guwahati.

The chief criteria for the awards was to have an eco-friendly idol and the maintenance of cleanliness and hygiene amidst the huge amount of rush on all the four days of the Durga Puja celebrations. Evaluation was made in three phases: the pre-puja survey, ongoing -puja survey and post-puja survey.

The Award ensured that all puja committees maintained proper guidelines regarding cleanliness and hygiene which only made the job of the judges tougher in selecting the winner. Although everyone remained a winner as the ultimate objective of keep the environment clean was fulfilled to a great extent, the Geetanagar Sarbajanin Durga Puja Committee was declared winner of the Prakriti Award 2010.

The award distribution ceremony was attended by over 200 people. Rajiv Kalita, General Secretary of the Geetanagar Sarabajanin Puja committee, informed that this year the estimated cost for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in their entire Puja campus was around Rs. 40,000/- which is double of what was spent last year. The entire team of the Geetanagar Sarabajanin Durga Puja committee was excited after winning the award.

The positive response shown from the Puja committees as well as general public has now motivated the Ecotourism Society of North East India to explore the opportunity of expanding this competition next year, to other parts of Assam as well. Festival like Durga Puja bind people together as they rejoice in celebrating and praying to the beloved Gods and Goddesses.

However in recent times, these have also become a source of a lot of environmental pollution which often goes unnoticed amidst all the enthusiasm. Initiatives such as the Prakriti Awards therefore help us come even more closer to God and to Mother Nature by reminding us about the emphasis of keeping our environment clean. For cleanliness indeed is next to Godliness.

Image courtesy Gautam Dutta

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