Following the confusion over the participation of children and the height of human pyramids formed during Dahi Handi celebrations, the Dahi Handi Utsav Samanvay Samiti, an umbrella body for all the mandals in the city, has decided not to accept any prize money from the organisers of the festival.
“Every year, just a few days before the festival, people raise issues and tell us that Govindas (volunteers) celebrate this festival because of the prize money involved. Therefore, we have taken almost 800 mandals in Mumbai and Thane into confidence and told them to not accept cash prize from the organisers. We will spend from our own pockets and keep the tradition alive,” said Samiti chief Bala Padelkar.
The prize money for the mandals goes up to lakhs of rupees, with organisations competing against each other to hit the jackpot. “We don’t want mandals to compete against each other, and want them set tiers for the pyramids only as per their practice sessions. We want to minimise the injuries this year and promise a safe Dahi Handi festival in the city,” he said.
Apart from this, the Samiti has also decided to oppose the organisers who have taken a stand against holding Dahi Handi festivities following the Bombay High Court (HC) order that banned children below 18 years from participating in the festivities and restricted the height of the human pyramid to 20 feet.
“We will only participate in the events of those organisers who are ready to support us even after the HC order, and not those who decided to discontinue the event altogether,” Padelkar added, while addressing the media on Saturday.
Following the HC order, Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik was one of the many organisers who had decided to discontinue the mega Dahi Handi celebrations that his outfit, Sanskruti Yuva Pratisthan, organises every year in Thane.