Stricter norms cut Ganesh pan­dals in city by over 200

Pedes­tri­ans, Ve­hi­cles Get Right Of Way HC slaps 1L fine on illegal Turbhe pan­dal

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - FRONT PAGE - [email protected] times­

Mum­bai: The Bom­bay high court’s fo­cus on sar­va­janik (com­mon) Ganeshot­sav pan­dals has shrunk their num­bers to less than a thou­sand this year—the low­est in re­cent times. On the eve of Ganeshot­sav 2015, a to­tal of 976 man­dals or groups had got per­mis­sion to erect tem­po­rary struc­tures on mu­nic­i­pal roads and foot­paths com­pared with 1,188 last year—a net shrink­age of 212.

The prime rea­son for the fall­ing count is the high court’s July di­rec­tion to the BMC chief to not grant per­mis­sion to pan­dals that could ob­struct ve­hic­u­lar and pedes­trian move­ment. The civic body then im­posed sev­eral strin­gent con­di­tions while grant­ing per­mis­sion for pan­dals on roads, in­clud­ing in­sis­tence on there be­ing no traf­fic di­ver­sions and ab­sence of pot­holes on roads.

Ear­lier, in March, while hear­ing the public in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tion against blocked roads as well as noise pol­lu­tion dur­ing fes­ti­vals, the high court had said the BMC chief ’s dis­cre­tionary power to is­sue per­mis­sions for pan­dals was not ab­so­lute, and di­rected the civic body to frame a re­vised pol­icy for the pur­pose.

The BMC’s rejection of around 473 ap­pli­ca­tions out of a to­tal of 2,126 has up­set the Bri­han­mum­bai Sar­va­janik Ganeshot­sav Sa­man­vaya The

Bom­bay high court has di­rected a Ganeshot­sav man­dal in Turbhe to pay Rs 1 lakh to the CM’s re­lief fund as penalty for erect­ing a pan­dal with­out due per­mis­sions from lo­cal author­i­ties. The court had re­cently di­rected civic bod­ies to re­strain man­dals from erect­ing pan­dals that ex­tend be­yond 25% of the road space. It has also asked mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions to dis­close names of po­lit­i­cal lead­ers in­volved in illegal pan­dals. Samiti, the um­brella body of man­dals in the city. Naresh Dahibavkar, con­vener of the samiti, said, “The BMC has re­jected ap­pli­ca­tions of sev­eral pan­dals in the city at the eleventh hour, though they had ap­proached the author­i­ties well in ad­vance.

San­jay Had­kar

SWEET SIXTY: Ic­cha­purti man­dal at Fort, in its 60th year, has adorned the idol with 60kg gold against a back­drop of 60 fa­mous per­son­al­i­ties

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