Barring a few incidents, the Ganesh immersion procession in the city concluded peacefully after 28 hours and 30 minutes, winding up 25 minutes earlier than the last year when it had taken 28 hours and 55 minutes.
In 2014, the immersion procession ended after 29 hours and 15 minutes. In 2013, the timing was much better with 27 hours and 25 minutes. In 2012, the time taken for the immersion procession was 28 hours and 50 minutes while in 2011, it was 27 hours and 41 minutes.
This year, the immersion procession started with the rituals of the first manacha (prominent) Ganpati, the Kasba Ganpati Ganesh Mandal, around 10.30 am Thursday in the presence of Pune’s Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, state’s Minister for Social Justice Dilip Kamble, Mayor Prashant Jagtap, Pune Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla and others. The procession concluded with the immersion of the idol of Samrat Mitra Mandal, Rasta Peth, on the Nateshwar Ghat at 3 pm Friday.
The idol of the Kasba Ganpati mandal was immersed in an artificial tank on Nateshwar Ghat at 4.20 pm, the Tambdi Jogeshwari Mandal (second manacha Ganpati) at 5.40 pm, Guruji Talim Mandal (third manacha Ganpati) at 6.30 pm, Tulshibag Ganpati Mandal (fourth manacha Ganpati) at 6.50 pm, Kesari Wada Ganpati (fifth manacha Ganpati) at 7.20 pm, the Akhil Mandai Ganpati Mandal immersed its idol at 7.10 am on Friday. Bhau Rangari Mandal concluded its immersion at 8.30 am. The idol of famous Dagdusheth Ganpati Hawali Mandal started immersion procession around 4 am and concluded at 8.20 am.
The procession on Laxmi road concluded at 11.53 am on Friday while on Kumthekar road, the procession ended at 11.46 am. On Kelkar road, it went on till 2.05 pm and on Tilak Road it concluded at 1.15 pm.
According to the police, between September 5 and 15, 2016, as many as 4,579 registered Ganesh Mandals took out processions through different routes in Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad area while 4,60,832 individual Ganesh Idols were immersed. As many as 3,020 Ganesh mandals participated in the Ganesh immersion processions on Thursday and Friday in Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
A huge police force, including 871 officers, 8,188 members of constabulary and five companies of state reserve police force were deployed on the roads across the city for security during the immersion day.
GPS proves helpful
In a first-of-its-kind experiment, the Pune police had installed centrally monitored Global Positioning System (GPS) on the chariots of the 10 important Ganesh mandals, which included 5 Manache Ganpati. A senior police officer said the real-time pictures of the locations of the 10 important Ganesh mandal processions helped them gauge the speed at which the mandals were moving and also in identifying whether there were any traffic issues. The officer said more such units will be installed next year for better understanding of the movement.
‘Virtual’ experience for senior citizens
On the day of Ganesh immersion, a number of Puneities, especially senior citizens, got to participate in the procession in a very different manner. Thanks to Ajay Parge and his team, they got a 360 degree view of the processions by using Oculus, the virtual reality headset, a technological device that takes the viewer on a virtual reality platform.
Parge said this was the first time this was done during Ganesh Utsav, though the device is increasingly being used for industrial and medical purposes.
“We shot the visarjan procession as well as the aarti of Dagduseth Halwai and showed it to people. Most of them were floored,” Parge said. The aarti of Dagduseth Halwai Mandal was shown to the residents of Abhalmaya old-age home and many had tears in their eyes.
Next year, Parge hopes to have a virtual reality lounge which will allow people to experience the process from one point.
Attack on cop at Tilak chowk
Police constable Vijaykumar Patne, who was on duty at the Tilak chowk during Ganesh immersion procession, was manhandled by three persons who were causing nuisance in the crowd Thursday. Patne Patne fell on a barricade and got an injury below his eye. Police managed to detain one of the three persons identified as Vinayak Jambhulkar and took him to the Vishrambag police station.
Mobile and chain snatchers on prowl
Police sources said incidents of thefts of cellphones and gold chains were reported from different parts of the city during the Ganesh immersion procession. The Vishrambag police arrested a suspect, identified as Pintu Santoshkumar (31), who hails from UP. His accomplice managed to escape from the spot. Police recovered 20 cellphones from his possession.