WITH THE civic polls round the corner, political parties are leaving no stone unturned to reach out to Ganesh mandals, ensuring that they ‘lend an ear’ to the demands. The latest being the demand to allow loudspeakers till midnight for at least five days during the Ganesh festival. District Collector Saurabh Rao had earlier declared that the use of loudspeakers would be permitted till midnight for the last five days of the Ganesh festival and restriction would be in place till 10 pm. For Pune, the five days relaxation for loudspeakers till midnight declared by district collector was September 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15.
However, it changed after the state government on September 5 issued a notification allowing loudspeakers’ use till midnight for only four days on September 6, 9, 10 and 15, which upset the mandal authorities. Mayor Prashant Jagtap of NCP was quick to take up the issue as he contacted Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis and also submitted a memorandum to district collector urging the state government to allow loudspeakers till midnight for five days, including the last day of Ganesh immersion.
“I called up Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis requesting him to allow loudspeakers till midnight in the last five days of Ganesh festival. He assured me to take a decision as early as possible,” said Mayor Prashant Jagtap. Earlier, in a written communication to district collector, “The festival is not only a religious tradition but has been in existence from pre-Independence. This should be taken into consideration.” He said the state government decision had dampened the mood in the Ganesh mandal camp.
In last 10 years, the state government using its powers allowed loudspeakers for five days in Ganesh festival and it included last four days and immersion day. “The present state government directives allow loudspeakers for four days and that too are scattered,” Jagtap said. As the mayor approached the chief minister, Guardian minister and senior BJP leader Girish Bapat too called up the chief minister with the request. “The chief minister has assured us of issuing new notification on allowing loudspeakers till midnight. The state government would allow it for five days in Ganesh festival,” he said.
Bapat said, “The Chief Minister has assured us of issuing new notification in which on September 11 and 13, loudspeakers would be allowed till midnight.” Congress spokesperson Ramesh Iyer said that his party has urged the state government to continue with the practice of allowing loudspeakers till midnight on last five days of the Ganesh festival. “The BJP-led state government needlessly created confusion by issuing a notification on four days relaxation. They could have avoided it if decision was taken well before the start of festival,” he said.