Mumbai:  As the Ganesh festival grows bigger and bigger, so do security and environmental concerns. This year, 2,500 new mandals have signed up, meaning not only that more roads will be dug up but also that better infrastructure must be put in place for the new idols.

From 8,200 mandals in 2007 and 9,500 next year, the total is now up to almost 12,000. Citizens are worrying about the fact that the BMC has decided to do away with a deposit from mandals to ensure holes dug up are filled after the festival.

Last year, each mandal deposited Rs 2,000 with the BMC and were supposed to get it back after the festival, if they had filled the potholes they had dug on the road. Following opposition from mandals, the civic body has decided to scrap the system. Members alleged that last year, the BMC failed to pay back over Rs 3 lakh to over 50 mandals who had repaired the roads. “If we find mandals not filling the potholes, we will revoke their licence and they will not be able to set up a mandal next year,” said additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta.

The festival is from September 11 to 22. Mandals will now be able to register online through the BMC’s website.

“A number of new housing societies have come at the ends of the suburbs and they have sought individual mandals. The number of new registrations is set to rise further by August 28, the last day for new mandals to approach us for membership and licences,” said Naresh Dahibawkar, president of the Brihanmumbai Sarvjanik Ganeshotsav Samanvaya Samiti.

A civic official said the additional number of mandals is not just a security concern but also an environmental hazard. “More mandals mean more noise pollution and more waste discharged into the sea during visarjan. It is also a huge security concern since the police are already overburdened,” said the official.

Source: Indian Express