August 26, 2021 1:44:17 am
OF THE 1,288 applications received from organisers of Ganesh festival this year, the BMC has approved 304 requests to erect a pandal or set up a stage on roads and footpaths.
While 141 of the remaining comprised same organisations submitting multiple applications, 86 requests have been rejected by the BMC and 757 are in process.
According to Bombay High Court guidelines of 2015, the BMC follows a single-window system for granting clearances to pandals ahead of the festival, including permission from ward offices and Mumbai Police.
The civic body allows construction of those pandals on the road that do not restrict passage of fire trucks and ambulances and also not exceed noise pollution levels.
Around 12,000 Ganesh pandals are set up each year in Mumbai, some inside housing complexes that do not require BMC permission. The civic body receives between 3,000 to 4,000 applications from various organisers across the city.
However, following the Covid-19 pandemic, only 1,764 applications were approved last year. Many organisers had also cancelled the festivities and instead organised blood donation camps. The Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Mumbai’s most-visited Mandal, had called off last year’s festivities.
Organisers said that this year, the number of pandals celebrating the festival are likely to go up.
“Compared to last year, we are more aware of the virus and the precautions that need to be taken. Many volunteers have received their first dose of vaccines,” said Naresh Dahibavkar, president of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshostsav Samanvay Samiti.
As per the list of guidelines issued by the BMC for the 11-day festival beginning September 10, mandals have been told to restrict the height of Ganpati idols to four feet, while idols worshipped at homes should not be more than two-ft high. Civic officials said that a decision on how many devotees are to be allowed inside a pandal at a time is yet to be taken.
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