Increased concern and awareness about the environment among residents of the city has lead to a substantial rise in the number of eco-friendly idols this year.
Both privately-owned and sarvajanik idols have seen a jump in the number of eco-friendly creations made either of shadu(clay) or paper mache. According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) figures,of a total of around 1.65 lakh household idols immersed last year,13,456 were eco-friendly. This year,the number of green household idols has more than tripled from last year with 45,000 idols of a total of aaround 1.8 lakh household idols. The number of green idols in more than 10,000 sarvajanik mandals has also increased to 22 from around seven last year, said Naresh Dahibawkar,chairperson of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvya Samiti,the umbrella body of Ganpati mandals in Mumbai.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board(MPCB) and other agencies also launched a large city-wide campaign to urge more people to buy eco-friendly idols and through makers and distributors Ganesh Kala Kendra,set up stalls across the city to sell such idols. This year,we had a really agressive campaign and have received an overwhelming response with all but seven of our targeted 50,000 idols sold in Mumbai and parts of Navi Mumbai and Thane. Last year,we sold only 18,000, said Sanjay Bhuskute,spokesperson,MPCB.
Sagar Chitale,a paper idol maker from Matunga,said this year has been his best sale since he started making such idols seven to eight years ago. This year,I have sold 15 idols of around eight feet each to mandals as compared to only five or six last year, he said.
Pramod Palav,the only National Environmental Engineering Research Institute(NEERI) certified eco-friendly idol maker,has created a 21-foot idol made out of shadu for an Andheri sarvajanik mandal and another 6-foot idol besides many small idols. There is a huge market for eco-friendly idols nowadays and the number of orders I get increases every year, said the artist who hails from Kankavli,Sindhudurg.
In other eco-friendly measures for the festival,each of the 24 wards will send a truck to each of the mandals in their area on every day of the festival to collect nirmalya,said Dahibawkar. A kalash will be kept at each of the 84 immersion points for people to deposit nirmalya.
This year security to be on larger scale
Top Mumbai Police officers said on Monday that security arrangements for the forthcoming Ganesh festival would be on a larger scale than last year owing to recent developments such as the serial blasts in Pune,the Azad Maidan riots and the mob violence in Lucknow last month.
Keeping in mind the existing situation,the security arrangements for the Ganpati festival will be on a larger scale as compared to last year. With the recent events that have transpired,we are on alert, said Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Sadanand Date.
We had a meeting on security arrangements today,during which detailed discussions on deployments took place. Bandobast instructions have been given to all police stations and manpower assistance to them is being finalised. The Mumbai Police Commissioner has gone to all five police regions and held a series of meetings with Ganpati mandals and mohallah committees, said Date.
Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh said the police had been asked to keep their eyes and ears open for suspicious objects or any chance of trouble brewing anywhere in the city. He,however,said the Mumbai Police had not received intelligence inputs warning of a specific security threat during the festival.
The police have also decided to set up additional CCTV cameras at immersion spots across the city.
The large mandals have their own CCTV cameras,but we have decided to set up our own CCTV cameras at immersions spots in the city, said Singh,who added that he had issued specific directions on Monday with regard to chain-snatchings and eve-teasing.
When asked whether women constables would be deployed for Ganpati security despite some being molested during the Azad Maidan mob violence on August 11,Singh said,The police has learnt lessons from what happened at Azad Maidan. However,it is necessary to utilise women police constables as they account for a large number. However,specific instructions have been given to them to protect them from attacks. Of course,a woman constable will not be deployed alone anywhere, said Singh.