Strict rules bring down pan­dal count in city this year

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI - Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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,

BACHCHAN KU­MAR

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