The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued circulars to all registered Ganeshotsav mandals, informing that permissions for pandals/mandaps will be sanctioned just 10 days ahead of the festival. But mandals are in a fix as several of them have already constructed pandals.
According to the circular issued by BMC ward offices last week, mandals are expected to submit their applications seeking permission to erect pandals 30 days ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi and that the civic body will sanction permission only 10 days before the festival.
Besides, for the first time the year, the civic body has shifted the process of applying and sanctioning Ganeshotsav permissions online. The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), the coordination committee for Ganesh mandals, had asked for an online system last year.
Several mandals have already erected pandals and completed 60-80 per cent decorations. “We will ensure our mandals follow the High Court’s directive and doesn’t pose obstacles to the public. Still, the BMC should sanction permission at least a month in advance. We have discussed the matter and BMC officials have assured that if we follow rules, we will be sanctioned permission within a week of submitting our application,” said Naresh Dahibavkar, president, BSGSS.
According to civic officials, 11,000 idols from various mandals are immersed in the city, but only 15 per cent take permission to set up pandals every year.
When contacted, Narendra Barde, deputy municipal commissioner, who is coordinating with the Ganesh mandals’ committee, said, “Each mandal is expected to submit all relevant documents and information needed in the form, including maps and location sketches. All these documents are verified by the traffic department and police through site visits. Our junior engineers call mandal office-bearers and make them fill all empty columns and ensure their forms are not rejected. We are working proactively to help mandals. Till last year it took at least a month’s time to process the required clearances from traffic police, local police and fire-control department for giving permission to set up a pandal. However, the process has become easy and less time consuming after we switched to an online system. But if the forms are incomplete and maps and sketches of location are not submitted, we have to ask them to submit those and the process gets delayed.”
For the first time, the Mumbai fire brigade has drafted a list of safety requirements/guidelines that mandals will have to follow while erecting pandals and designing their sets. These guidelines will be added to the fire safety requirements drafted after the Kamala Mills fire.