After spotting stingrays during the one and half day immersion of Ganesh idols at Girgaum Chowpatty, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started alerting citizens through loudspeakers to not only hand over the idols to the guards at the spot, but also not venture closer to the sea.
Citing last year’s incident where 70 devotees needed medical aid after being stung, the fisheries department had started a survey a few days ago to check for the possibility of stingrays and jellyfish at immersion spots like Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu and Shivaji Park. “We spotted around 5 stingrays near Girgaum Chowpatty recently and have alerted the BMC to increase security and medical facilities on the spot. The seashore serves as a breeding spot for stingrays during this season,” said Vinod Naik, joint commissioner of the fisheries department. Senior officials from the civic body had also visited the spot on Monday following the alert from the department.
Stingrays and jelly fish are known to have poisonous barbs and tentacles. Their attacks have caused fatalities globally. The 10-day festival of Ganesh Chaturthi ends on September 8.
Following the alerts, the civic body has placed rafts and also made four motorised boats available at the spot for visarjan. The administration also made available six medical ambulances and six doctors at the spot in case of an emergency.
“We have also put up posters and banners at the spot to warn citizens and keep announcing that the citizens must not enter the sea and hand over the idols only to the guards at the spot,” said Parag Masurkar, assistant commissioner from the D ward which includes Girgaum.
Around a week ago, the BMC had written to the fisheries department to take immediate measures against the possible threat of stingrays and jelly fish as they would serve as a competent authority to tackle the situation. The department is expected to complete the survey at the spots by September 25.