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An artist from Dhubri in western Assam has created a six-and-half foot high idol of Goddess Durga out of medical waste, using about 40,000 expired tablets, capsules and syringes.
Sanjib Basak, 37, a field officer with the Dhubri district disaster management authority by profession, persevered for nearly three months during the lockdown to complete his unique creation.
The effort, apart from being exceptional, is very inspiring at a time when the pandemic and the consequent restrictions have compelled many theme-based creators to take a break, at least for this festive season.
On being asked about how the idea came to him, Basak said that many medical stores in Dhubri could not return the expired tablets to pharmaceutical companies because of the lockdown and had accumulated substantial medical waste in the subsequent months.
“So, the idea of making a unique Goddess Durga idol out of medical waste instantly crossed my mind. As it is, I have been making idols using scrap material including thermocol, single-use plastic bottles, waste electric wires and eco-friendly items such as match sticks and bamboo over the past seven years now,” he told this to a correspondent on Maha Saptami on Friday.
A fine arts degree holder, who also runs a school, Basak said that because of the lockdown his institution has been closed for over six months now.
“So, I wanted to exhibit something very appealing to people at a time when COVID-19 has affected people. At the same time, the message of reducing waste for a cleaner environment also gets spread,” he said, adding that they have put his creation up at a pandal in the town since Thursday.
Apart from accolades and recognition from several quarters, Basak had made it to the Assam Book for Records in 2019 when he made a Durga idol using waste electrical wire weighing 160 kilograms.
On his plans, he said that he would continue to pursue his passion for making unique idols throughout the year.
“Apart from Goddess Durga idols, I have also made idols of Goddess Saraswati in the past. So, I would like to keep my creative pursuit going with the hope that the pandemic situation improves in the coming months,” he added.