Over 7,000 personnel of Pune City Police will be deployed during the Ganesh festival, which is taking place for the second time under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. Traffic curbs have also been put in place for some arterial roads in central Pune.
The festival will be celebrated this year from September 10 to September 19. City police officials said that because most of the curbs on movements and economic activities have been lifted, there will be greater risk of spread of the infection, so police have already issued a Code of Conduct for the celebration of the festival.
Senior officials said that a deployment of 7,000 personnel and over 500 officers will be in place for the 10-day festival. In addition, multiple Quick Response Teams will be deployed and special squads have been formed to prevent cases of theft in crowds, crimes against women and cases of road robberies. Companies of the State Reserve Police Force and Home Guard will be also be deployed. The deployment is being monitored by Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta and Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order) Ravindra Shisve.
Officials from Pune city police commissionerate said that the police personnel will be deployed throughout the city in batches and alternate shifts. The aim is to achieve heightened vigil and increased police presence than the normal.
These 10 days see significant increase in traffic volume in key areas in central Pune like Mandai, Bajirao Road, Kelkar Road, Laxmi Road, Tilak Road and Kumthekar Road. The road diversions will be in place from the morning of September 9 till the night of September 19.
Vehicles from Shivaji Road to Swargate will take the route of SG Barve Chowk, Khandojibaba Chowk and Tilak Road. Traffic from Appa Balwant Chowk to Budhwar Chowk will be diverted via Bajirao Road.
Vehicles from Puram Chowk to Shivajinagar via Bajirao Road will be diverted via Alka Talkies Chowk and Fergusson College Road. Traffic from Shanipar to Mandai will remain closed for vehicles and only open for pedestrians.
Pune City police had earlier issued a Model Code of Conduct for the Ganesh mandals. While completely imposing a ban on any type of procession, police have said that the number of devotees attending poojas should not exceed five and have advised usage of online media for devotees wanting to attend ceremonies and take darshan.
For peaceful and safe conduct of the festival, Pune Municipal Corporation had called a meeting of Ganesh mandal representatives, elected leaders, civic and administrative officers. Building on various decisions taken during the meeting and the guidelines issued by the state government from time to time, Pune police had issued the Model Code of Conduct.
The code comprises guidelines for activities like purchase and installation of idols, pooja and darshan rituals at the pandal premises, Covid safety arrangements at the pandals and the immersion ritual. Police have said that PMC’s directives on complete ban on immersion at river fronts will be strictly enforced.