Over the last week, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has received 150 applications from areas within its jurisdiction to erect Ganesh pandals or set up stages on roads and footpaths for the 11-day festival, slated to be held from August 22 this year.
Mumbai has around 14,000 major Ganesh pandals each year. Some Ganesh Mandals install 20- to 25-foot-high idols.
A list of guidelines for the festival was issued on July 11. As per the directives, the Mandals have to restrict the height of Ganpati idols to four feet, while idols worshipped at homes should not be more than two-foot high.
For Mumbai, the BMC, too, has laid down several conditions for Ganeshotsav organisers. These include reducing the size of pandals, a ban on offerings like flowers and garlands, sanitising pandals thrice a day, and ensuring only five workers are inside a pandal at a time. As per the new guidelines, pandals which were permitted last year, need not make fresh applications to the civic body. There are over 2,500 such pandals in the city. BMC receives between 3,000 and 4,000 applications from various organisers across the city each year.
As per the guidelines issued by the Bombay High Court in 2015, the BMC comes with a single-window system for clearance of pandals in the city, which includes permission from ward offices and Mumbai police. The civic body authorises construction of the pandals on the road that does not restrict passage to fire brigades and ambulances and warn against exceeding noise pollution levels.
Senior civic officials said a decision to allow a limited number of devotees inside a pandal is yet to be taken.
Ganpati Mandals, meanwhile, have been urged to consider cancelling this year’s festivities and instead organise blood donation camps and create awareness about the importance of maintaining cleanliness and personal hygiene. The Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav
Mandal, which is Mumbai’s most-visited Mandal, has already called off this year’s festivities in light of the pandemic.
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