The Home department Saturday directed Ganesh Mandals not to organise immersion processions to beaches and lakes this year and urged citizens to immerse idols at home in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
A list of guidelines for the 11-day festival, slated to be held from August 22 this year, was issued Saturday. As per the directives, 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. Earlier, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had met representatives from Ganesh Mandals and asked them to limit the size of the idols.
Mumbai has around 14,000 major Ganesh pandals each year. Some of the Ganesh Mandals have 20- to 25-foot high idols.
The guidelines, issued by Principal Secretary (Home), Amitabh Gupta, also urged citizens to immerse idols at home and avoid travelling to crowded waterfronts. It also states that citizens should consider deferring the immersion to next year’s festival. “By avoiding going to crowded spaces while welcoming and immersing idols, you will protect yourselves and your family members from the risk of contracting Covid-19,” the guidelines read. Citizens have also been asked to use idols made of environmentally-friendly materials.
Ganpati Mandals, meanwhile, have 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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