Following riot-like situation that gripped the city over a week ago, organisers of Ganpati celebrations are making efforts to ensure security for devotees ahead of Ganesh Chhaturti next month.
According to Girish Walawalkar, secretary of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvaya Samiti (BSGSS), organisers are in talks with the police and BMC to hold a disaster management workshop for mandal workers on September 6 and 7.
“The climate has been tense over the last few days. We have therefore decided to introduce some security measures through this training, which is open for all mandal workers. While the police will hold training in one of their premises, BMC’s disaster-management team will conduct two workshops at its schools in Worli and Vile Parle,” Walawalkar said.
Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer of the disaster-management unit said, “We will impart first-response training to the mandal workers. This includes fire-fighting, CPR, first-aid, and crowd management among other things.
Last year we had held it in Worli – this year, organisers have requested that we hold a workshop in the suburbs as well.”
Walwalkar said given the recent communal climate, the number of trained volunteers, stationed at every mandal, will be beefed up.
“We are planning to post at least 10 ganasevaks in three shifts throughout the day till night at all mandals. Cameras are most likely to placed at the Ganesha mandal in Chowpatty at least,” Walawalkar added.
After failing to fill up potholes on the city roads, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claimed to complete the work manually with help of paver blocks only till Ganesh immersion. “The continuous rainfall is disrupting the work of filling up the potholes and the work would be completed till Ganesh immersion only,” additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta told reporters today after a meeting of Ganesh festival committees and local MLAs held ahead of the festival. The BMC needs 24 hours of dry spell for the work. However, continuous rainfall is not allowing to complete it. If the rains continue in this manner, the only option would be to fill up the potholes temporarily with the help of paver blocks, Gupta said. Guardian minister for Mumbai suburb, Naseem Khan who had convened the meeting instructed BMC to fulfil the potholes in time so that Ganesh processions should not affect. Considering Eid, Ganesh festival and arrival of Queen’s baton to the city on the same day, Khan said the police would take care of the security so that no untoward incident would take place. The routes would be designed in a manner that they would not create traffic jams, he added. Queen’s baton would relay in the suburbs on September 10 and 11 while the Eid and Ganesh arrival would also be celebrated during this time. The local committees present for the meeting assured to maintain peace in view of a Babri Masjid verdict expected on September 17 in Allahabad high court, the minister said.
- Don’t buy painted Ganesh idols, State tells people (thehindu.com)
Maharashtra government may relax silent zone norms for some Ganesh pandals in the wake of ensuing ten-day festival which commences from September 11. “The government may relax norms for some Ganesh mandals situated in silent zones,” guardian minister of the city, Jayant Patil said today. The Centre had issued a notification terming areas within 100 metres of courts, religious structures, educational institutions and hospital as silent zones. The Bombay high court has banned loudspeakers after 10 pm in these zones. On whether the government would move court on the issue, Patil said no. “A meeting would be soon held in this regard with additional chief secretary of the home department,” he said. Only handful of mandals are demanding waiver of the norms and the government can issue a notification to this effect, he said. Over 2,830 mandals met Patil in Mantralaya to discuss various issues like silent zones, road repairs and security prior to the festivals. “I have instructed BMC to repair roads and fill up potholes specially on the procession routes,” Patil said. On the security, the minister said police have taken adequate measures in the backdrop of terrorists threats and the mandals will also cooperate.
Mumbai After seeking to create awareness about swine flu last year, the 12,000-odd Ganesh mandals in the city have now come forward to battle malaria. The mandal owners have requested the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to allow one mandal each in the 227 wards to open a malaria diagnosis camp besides putting up informative posters on the pandal premises and carrying out door-to-door campaigns in slum areas.
They have also vowed to make malaria prevention their theme this year. Some of them have joined the anti-malaria efforts of the civic body. Vikas Ganesh Mandal in the slum area of Sai Vihar in Bhandup has purchased its own fogging machines and has been fumigating the vulnerable areas over the past few months.
The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvaya Samiti, an umbrella organisation of mandals, has sought one civic doctor each for every mandal, where he can consult patients. Samiti president Naresh Dahibawkar said they would put forward their proposals to civic health officials this week. “Ganeshotsav is a popular festival in the city and people from all classes and religious backgrounds visit the mandals. There are a large number of mandals within slum pockets that also happen to be vulnerable areas for contracting malaria. We can use this platform not only to create an awareness about preventive steps but also lend our manpower for fogging purposes.”
Vikas Mandal secretary Abodh Kanjure said they decided to buy a hand-held fogging machine for a little over Rs 20,000 as the mandal area was a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “A lot of people gather in pandals and the chances of the virus spreading are more. We have been regularly fumigating the area.”
The BMC has welcomed the proposal. Additional municipal commissioner (health) Manisha Mhaiskar said the civic body would support the mandals by trying to provide the necessary medical infrastructure. “We will try and provide medicines and other services to the camps,” said Mhaiskar.
Meanwhile, the BMC’s toll-free helpline for disaster management — 108 — received 150 malaria-related calls on its first day. Chief disaster management officer Mahesh Narvekar said doctors from BMC hospitals were being posted to handle queries on 12-hour shifts. “Today, we had doctors from BYL Nair Hospital. They dealt with questions on what symptoms should prompt people to take malaria tests, and what should be the treatment protocol.”
There were also calls alerting the civic body about mosquito-breeding sites. “We assured them that fogging activities would be carried out with immediate effect.”
Source: Indian Express
The BMC has informed the Genesh mandals that if they do not repair the roads that are dug up to erect pandals for the festival, they would have to pay for it the next year.
Not only that, the civic body would also put photographs of the erring mandals on its website.
In a meeting with mayor Shraddha Jadhav on Tuesday, theGaneshotsav Samanvay Samitee urged her to waive the deposit of Rs2,000 which the ward offices charge on mandals for damaging roads.
Following the mayor’s direction, the civic administration agreed to waive it off on the condition that the mandals repair the damaged roads after the festival. If they fail, they would not get permission to erect pandals the next year.
“We will check whether they repair the roads or not. We will also ask the ward offices to take their photographs. If they don’t repair, we will fine them next year,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seems to be clueless about the status of silence zones in the city. When Ganapati mandals sought information on the status of silence zones, the BMC officials said they will seek information first and then get back to them. “There were about 142 silence zones earmarked in Mumbai. In 2009, the high court had asked the state to set up a committee, including the BMC commissioner, state chief secretary and other senior officials to review silence zones. So we asked the BMC what was the status. Should we hold the 142 silence zones valid or are there any new guidelines?” Naresh Dahibaokar of the Ganesh Mandal Co-ordination Committee said.
“The BMC will have to check the status,” Additional Commissioner Aseem Gupta replied. “We are not clear if we should go with the existing list or does the committee have new recommendations. Police will take action against us for violation so we need to be careful,” Dahibaokar said.
The BMC has also decided to waive off the security deposit taken from each Ganpati mandal and has told the mandals to level up roads that are dug up to erect makeshift platforms for the deity. If they fail to do so then they will not get permission next year.
“Each Ganapati mandal pays Rs 2,000 to the BMC as security deposit for the damages that it may incur during the 10-day festival. This year the sum has been waived off, but the mandal should be responsible to restore the road once the stage is dismantled,” he said. Gupta said the BMC has also started the process of online registration for Ganapati mandals on its website.
Ganapati mandals have given August 15 as the deadline to fill the potholes, which lead to the Ganesh mandals. “We will do our best. However, it will be difficult to meet the deadline if it rains,” Additional Commissioner Aseem Gupta said.