NMMC’s no-ad diktat hits Ganesh mandals
FESTIVAL DAMPENER Mandals ask for money ranging from Rs 25,000 to over Rs1 lakh from developers, jewellers and businessmen for advertisements on gates
The decision by municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe to not allow advertising gates on pandals, is expected to hit the organisers hard.
There are around 435 mandals in the NMMC area which are being given permissions through one-window policy. The mandals have been instructed to ensure that the roads are not dug up for erecting mandaps. Instead mud filled drums are to be used to support the bamboo structures.
Despite the court order, several Ganeshotsav mandals had last year dug up roads at several places to erect welcome gates. These gates seem to be the pillars of the financial strength of the mandals.
The mandals ask for amounts ranging from Rs 25,000 to over Rs1 lakh from developers, jewellers and other businessmen for advertisements on the gates. That the city is defaced does not seem to matter to them.
Following the court orders on the conduct of the festivities, the NMMC and the police have like last year not given permission to the mandals to erect their pandals on the roads. Most mandals hence shifted to gardens or other open spaces. For the first time, there were no major traffic issues in the city due to Ganeshotsav festivities last year.
However, there was no dearth of the gates on the roads despite the instructions by the court that the roads should not be dug up. Most sarvajanik mandals had erected the gates.
NMMC is now giving permission to the mandals to erect 1 or 2 gates. However, it has disallowed commercial advertising on it.
Big mandals usually erect 10 to 15 gates. There are over 500 gates that are erected in the city.
The number of gates have been increasing over the years because of financial gains they bring to the mandals. A number of officebearers Artistes beat dhols to welcome in a Ganesh idol at Vashi.
of several mandals are affiliated to political parties. They often use their clout to get advertisements for the mandals. In other cases, donations are taken from politicians and hence gates are put up of their businesses.
There have been some instances in the past of gates causing hurdles when the idols were brought to the pandals.
A president of a leading mandal in Vashi said, “The festivities have been carried on for years. We have even shifted to different locations. There is no rule that says that the gates cannot be erected. This revenue is important for the mandals to organize the festivities.”
He added, “NMMC needs to get a resolution passed in the general body to decide that there can be only 1 or 2 gates that they should not have commercial advertising. Where is the proposal?”
The president said, “We will go to the court if such arbitrary action is taken. We are ready to pay as per commercial rates if the civic body wants to charge for the gates, but it cannot deny us the right to erect them. We have even given an undertaking that we will not damage the roads.”
MLA Manda Mhatre, “I did speak to the municipal commissioner on allowing commercial gates for the mandals to help them finance their festivity. However, he is not ready to grant permission.”