The economic slowdown does not seem to have affected Ganpati mandals in the city, whose cash collections from donations this year are only slightly lower than last year’s. Mandal representatives have blamed the rain for this.
Donations for ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’, the city’s most well-known Ganpati, touched Rs 6.05 crore this year as compared to Rs 6.5 crore last year. Other than this, the ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ also received gold weighing 4.28 kg and silver weighing 80.3 kg, which was auctioned off on Monday. At the auction, Lalbaugcha Raja received Rs 1.25 crore, which is more than last year’s Rs 1.09 crore. The mandal will be adopting one rain-affected village and will use the donations to rebuild houses.
Last year’s takings were 5.5 kg gold and 75 kg silver. The mandal also received gold biscuits worth Rs 39.51 lakh. “Each year, the amount varies by five to 10 per cent. The status of the economy hasn’t affected our collections,” said Amit Dalvi, the mandal’s treasurer. After the visarjan ceremony, mandals are now counting their collections. The collections at Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Mandal, King Circle, were Rs 8.5 crore as compared to Rs 9 crore last year.
“The loss of Rs 50 lakh is not due to the state of the economy, but due to heavy rains that lashed the city from the third day. That day, only 10 per cent of the usual crowd was able to visit the pandal. The roads leading to the pandal were heavily waterlogged,” said mandal trustee R G Bhat. The mandal has received 350 gm gold and 6.5 kg silver, which will be auctioned off in the coming days.
Chinchbunder-Dongri Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, best known for ‘Dongricha Raja’, collected Rs 1.64 lakh as donations this time for their 81st year as compared to Rs 1.4 lakh last year.
“We had declared beforehand that the donation will be used for flood relief measures undertaken by the government. We were expecting the amount to cross Rs 2 lakh but incessant rain affected the footfall,” said mandal president Naresh Todankar.
While Sewri Madhya Vibhag Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal is yet to count its collection for the year, president Shrikant Jadhav said he expected the amount to cross Rs 20 lakh as every year. “We keep some of the amount for the expenditure incurred in running the mandal. The rest we use for different social activities,” he said.
This year, Brihanmumbai Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, the city’s coordination committee for the Ganesh Chaturthi, had appealed before all mandals to donate their collections to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the recent Kolhapur floods.
“The mandals have contributed as much as Rs 5 crore directly to the CM relief fund. They were asked to donate the sum individually,” said president Naresh Dahibhavkar.