With the Ganesh festival across Mumbai attracting massive crowds, major mandals have equipped themselves with first aid centers, part-time doctors and ambulances to provide emergency medical aid to devotees.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has granted permission to 982 organisers to set up Ganesh mandals across the city for it has set up 45 first-aid health centers. Simultaneously, mandals are putting up health desks to assist worshippers queuing up to seek blessings.
At Lalbaugcha Raja, where this year over 15 lakh devotees visited in a single day, two cardiac ambulances have been stationed.
“We also run a dialysis center which has four ambulances. Those will be made available in emergency situations,” said Balasaheb Kamble, president of the committee handling Lalbaugcha Raja.
The mandal has five health centers stationed at various points where devotees enter, wait in queue, and exit the mandal along with over 40 doctors working in three shifts round the clock.
“We have not witnessed any unexpected health complications till now. But for these 10 days, volunteers provide water and food to devotees who have to wait for long hours in queue,” Kamble added.
In Mumbaicha Raja Mandal in Ganesh Gali, a tie-up with Wockhardt Hospital has been made for first-aid boxes and two doctors are available round the clock.
“This year, about 70,000-80,000 people are visiting our mandal every day. We have made facilities to quickly handle any case of heart attack or nausea,” said organiser Swapnil Suresh.
According to Naresh Dahibaonkar, president of the Ganesh Utsav Coordination Committee that monitors mandals across the city and addresses various issues such as security, health and environmental impact, a training to all mandal organisers has been given to create a route for ambulances.
“We have put up posters everywhere for awareness on numbers to call in case of medical emergency. Mandals have been advised to keep a route ready to the nearest hospital if a situation arises,” he said.
At GSB Seva Mandal, a team of doctors from the Hinduja hospital has been stationed for five days of Ganesh festivities. The mandal has a footfall of 60,000 to 80,000 worshippers. “We have also made arrangements for an ambulance. But till now, we have not required it,” said Prashant Mallya, joint treasurer of the mandal.