Women artists from Gujarat decorate idols
To ensure that Ganesh devotees have a safe journey back home in the Konkan region, the state highway police have requisitioned additional forces from other regions.
The officers left for their designated places on Wednesday, with the bandobast coming in force from Thursday.
Palaspe control room of the highway police at Panvel has said that special precautions are being taken to prevent traffic snarls and accidents during the festive season.
On duty are one superintendent of police, two deputy superintendents, seven inspectors, 44 assistant police inspectors and 611 police personnel .
The important areas to be under the beat are Kharpada bridge, Ramwadi, Wadkhal, Wakan, Kashedi, Khed, Chiplun, Hathkhamba, Kankavli and Goa border. Ganeshotsav is the biggest festival in the Konkan region. Almost six lakh residents head to their villages during this festival.
The traffic department takes measures to ensure that the devotees reach their homes in time.
The highway police have their jurisdiction from Kharpada to Goa state border. Several vehicles travel on the Goa highway two days before the festivities start. It is the responsibility of the highway police to ensure that the traffic norms are not violated.
Additional forces have been brought in from other areas for the Mumbai-Goa highway— Pune, Nagpur, and Nasik.
The forces reported at the Palaspe control room on Tuesday and Wednesday. They were then allocated areas for bandobast duty. Superintendent of police Samadhan Pawar addressed and guided the personnel on the duties to be performed by them.
The bandobast that started on Thursday will be in force till September 16.
“Around 550 personnel have been sourced from outside the district. They have been deployed on the highway under the supervision of the superintendent of police,” said Arun Awhad, officer in charge of Palaspe Centre. “We will commit ourselves to ensure that the devotees have a safe journey.” Ganpati idols kept at Pitambar Art in Juinagar on Thursday.
A group of seven women from Kheda district in Gujarat have come to Juinagar to decorate Ganpati idols with jewellery. They have decorated over seventy idols of different sizes over the past two weeks.
Although the jewellery they use is made of glass, when adorned on the idol it dazzles like a diamond.
Thus, their art is known as ‘diamond work’ in the idol making business. Presently, they are working hard on their idols for the upcoming festival in Pitambar Arts Association at sector 24.
The group’s work starts only after the painting of an idol is done. They decorate the painted idols from the crown of ganpati to his toes.
“One artist takes around three days to do the diamond work on a five feet tall idol. If a five feet tall idol decorated with paper jewellery is sold for Rs 3,000, its price goes up by Rs 2,500-3,000 after the diamond work. Once we are done with the designing, the mandals and individuals collect their idols,” Jyoti Solankhi, one of the artists.
“This year we started our work late as we did not get permission to occupy this place from NMMC on time. Hence we were unable to take as many orders as we took in the previous years. Ours is a family business; the workshop is run by our cousin and hence we don’t charge for individual idols,” she said.
Tanuja Sonankhi, another artist said, “We get all our jewellery from Surat. For decorating the bigger idols three to four women work together. This year, the idols we have decorated are one to fourteen feet tall.”
Amit Salunkhe, who runs the workshop, told Hindustan Times that this year the Rajan and the Sairat themes are in demand. They have made around 600 idols this time. Apart from places in Navi Mumbai, mandals from Chembur and Bhandup have also placed orders with them.
“This year we have sent two idols to USA and one to Nigeria. Of the 600 idols, around 150 were made of clay. The remaining idols were made of plaster of paris (PoP). The demand for ecofriendly idols has increased over the past three years,” he said.
“Diamond work is our USP. Because of this art, many people come to us from far off places,” he added.