On March 14, the state government banned plastic and all plastic and thermacol products in Karnataka. The notification cites: “No shopkeeper, vendor, trader shall use plastic carry bags, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic spoons.”
As a result, many popular temples in Bengaluru have put up notice boards stating they are discontinuing some of the most popular poojas as they are unable to perform them at a ‘low cost’ due to the plastic ban.
The temples are also asking devotees to opt for more expensive poojas.
A notice board at The Vinayaka temple in Yelahanka New Town states that it would not conduct its most popular Satyanarayana pooja costing Rs 10 as it is not financially viable. If devotees wish to continue with the pooja, they can opt for a Rs 25 pooja.
The reason, according to temple administration, is the parasadam. For the Rs 10 pooja, it is now difficult to dispense the prasadam, teertha or rasayana as plastic cups are unavailable.
They said they experimented with aluminium foil, but it turned out to be more costly than they charge for the pooja.
“Devotees believe their pooja is never complete without prasadam. With no plastic available, we requested devotees to bring their own boxes. However, many of them wouldn’t do so and when we expressed our helplessness to provide prasadam they are enraged and start arguing with us. To avoid unnecessary problems, we have discontinued several pooja services,” said Satyanarayana Sharma, who works as a temple priest.
As per the temple, pooja requires packaging. Solid prasadam can be used in leaf, but for liquids it is difficult. They say due to ban on plastics, in days to come, many of the lower denomination poojas are sure to be phased out.