Instead of negotiating numerous potholes while transporting the 23-footUpnagaracha Raja idol from the workshop in Parel to the pandal in Borivli, theEktaSarvajanikMandal has decided to make it at the site itself, for the first time in its 31-year history.
The mandal took the decision after complaining to the civic and other authorities about bad roads for five years. It has roped in sculptor Vijay Khatu. Mandal secretary Milind Kolwankar said that they had erected the stage where the idol will be made from next week.
“It would take us 14 hours to get the idol, and we would have to be very careful so that there is no damage to the idol,” Kolwankar said. One of the biggest Ganpati mandals in the western suburbs, it said more than 10,000 devotees visit its pandal every day.
Ganpati mandals have met Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials over the poor quality of roads and demanded that potholes be filled by August so that there is no problem while transporting idols.
The BMC’s pothole tracking website has reported 17,283 complaints, of which 14,871 have been attended to.
Mumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti president Naresh Dahibhawkar said, “Every mandal has been complaining about bad roads in the city. The BMC and other agencies must ensure the idols have a smooth and safe ride.” Senior officials said the BMC will fill up all potholes by August 15.
Another concern this year is incomplete and delayed infrastructure projects have left potholes and debris. The unfinished Metro Rail project is causing concern for mandals from Ghatkopar to Saki Naka, right up to Versova.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said steps were taken before the monsoon to ensure concrete and asphalt stretches remained motorable. Of the 106 concrete and 32 asphalting works undertaken before the monsoon, most were brought to a safe stage before the rains, he said in the legislative council on Wednesday.
“We ensured that contractors remained responsible for maintenance of these roads during the monsoon. Since the work was brought to a safe stage, there is no question of rain affecting the quality of roads in the monsoon,” Chavan said in a written reply to the state legislative council on Wednesday.
Congress member Sanjay Dutt alleged that work worth Re 1,160 crore was undertaken before the monsoon but left unattended, exposing them to risk of being affected by heavy rain. Chavan clarified that the tenders’ time limit for concrete, asphalting and resurfacing work is 12 months, including the monsoon. During the monsoon, this work is brought to a safe stage and work is suspended.
BEST has assured Sarvajanik Ganesh mandals that more than 90% electricity connections will be given within 24 hours after application in the island city.
“If we get an application in the morning, we will install a meter at the pandal by evening,” said a senior official from the electricity wing. In 10% cases, where power load is high or cabling is required, it could take more time. Power will be supplied at a low rate of Rs4.50 per unit, while there will be a single window system for application. Naresh Dahibawkar of the Sarvajanik Ganesh mandals said, “We have also been promised more BEST buses to cater to devotees visiting pandals. We will meet chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and demand a 15% waiver on taxes on power.”