September 3, 2021 7:44:21 pm
To reduce crowding at Girgaum Chowpatty in South Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will allot time slots for immersion of idols. Girgaum Chowpatty is one of the major spots for immersion of popular idols like Lalbaugcha Raja, Ganesh Gully and others.
The 10-day Ganpati festival will begin this year from September 10. The idol immersion is conducted on the second, fifth and eleventh day of the festival, with the highest number of immersions on the last day of the festival.
The civic body this year will send QR codes as confirmation of time slots allotted to individuals or mandals for immersion through its mobile application. Currently, the online booking for immersions is only planned for Girgaum Chowpatty.
BMC’s Ward D had developed an app last year to streamline immersions and had sent confirmation messages for slot booking. This year, the messages will be replaced with QR codes, said BMC.
Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner of Ward D, said, “Similar to last year, mandals and individuals can book a time slot for immersion of idols at Girgaum Chowpatty. Last year, we found a duplication of confirmation messages. Thus, this year, we will send QR codes, which will be scanned at the collection points for idols at Chowpatty.” Last year, nearly 2,000 citizens had used the application to book time slots.
As per the rules, pandal volunteers and citizens for household immersions will have to handover their idols at the collection points that will be set up near the beaches and natural water bodies. Only BMC staff will be allowed to venture into the water. Volunteers have also been asked to not perform pujas or aartis at the collection points.
The civic body has also said the mandals must follow all the Covid norms and there should be no crowding at the pandals. There are over 10,000 Ganesh mandals in the city.
Mumbai sees around 12,000 Ganesh pandals set up each year — some inside housing complexes which do not require BMC’s permission to be set up. BMC receives between 3,000 and 4,000 applications from various organisers across the city.
Last year, many organisers cancelled the festivities and instead, organised blood donation camps. BMC is expecting an uptick in the number of pandals set up in the city this year. Last year, only 1,764 applications of Ganesh mandals were approved. The Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, which is Mumbai’s most-visited mandal, had called off last year’s festivities in light of the pandemic.
Till Friday, of the total 2,626 applications received, BMC has approved 1,389 to erect Ganesh pandals or set up stages on the roads and footpaths in its jurisdiction. As many as 228 applications are rejected by the civic body, while 601 are under process.
Earlier, the BMC and the state government had issued general guidelines on Ganeshotsav, urging residents and sarvajanik mandals to worship small idols, similar to last year. While for household pujas, the idols should not be more than two feet, sarvajanik mandals should not worship idols that exceed four feet in height.
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