Strict rules bring down pandal count in city this year
Ganesh idols being taken for immersion at Wadale lake in Panvel on Tuesday.
The tough rules and regulations and inflation seem to have dampened the festive spirit in the city.
After Dahi Handi, there are fewer mandals in Ganeshotsav as compared to last year.
Deputy commissioner of police (zone I) Prashant Khaire said, “Last year, there were around 435 sarvajanik Ganeshotsav mandals registered with the city police. This year, it has reduced to 395 mandals this year.”
He added, “The same was the case last year with dahi handi which had 94 mandals. This year the number was down to just 45.”
Maharashtra is known for Ganeshotsav festivities and Navi Mumbai has joined in the celebrations for years.
However, organisers say that rising costs and the rules and regulations laid down after court orders are the major reasons for the reduction in the number of mandals.
An organiser said, “The biggest obstacle is that the pandals cannot be erected on the roads. We were asked to take up space in the grounds. However, it is the politically well connected and the influential who have succeeded in cornering the prime ground areas.”
He added, “With just one mandal getting permission on one ground, the smaller ones have had to withdraw.”
Another organiser said, “This year, even advertising gates have not been allowed. They are a big source of our revenue. How can we sustain the rising costs without them?”
There is yet another reason being put forward.
A social worker, Nitin Patil, said cites the election reason.
“There are no elections to be held soon and hence there are several who have opted out. These festivals are used as political planks by many and holding the festivity now will not really serve their purpose,” he said. A Ganesh idol made of pearls and gem stones at Sector 4 in Kopar Khairane. The pandal has been set up by Swami Samarth Mandal,