Mumbai hosts the most elaborate Ganesh Chaturthi processions every year. However, due to COVID-19, the celebrations would be plagued by safety protocols for the second time in a row. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has ordered all the pandal organisers to deposit their idols at collection points to avoid over-crowding during the immersion ceremony. The Municipal Corporation would collect the idols and immerse them in ponds or the seas.
In 2020, the BMC had banned public processions to prevent the spread of the virus and had allowed only ten members in each pandal to be present at a particular time. The Indian Express reported a BMC official saying, "We will set up collection points for idols in each of the twenty-four wards in the city. The organisers can deposit their idols here and also head to Chowpatty collection points." He further mentioned that in any case, no processions would be allowed.
No Over-Crowding At Pandals
Along with online darshan facilities, the Mandal organisers have also asked BMC for permission to allow citizens to come to the pandals. The BMC official responded that only online darshan facilities had been allowed so far. Still, nonetheless, a meeting is scheduled with the Mumbai Police and the organisers to discuss the topic.
Last year, the Mandal had to hand over the Ganesha idols to the civic body for immersion. The BMC has asked the organisers to ensure no crowding at the Ganpati sites under any circumstances.
Request To Allow 20 Members
The city hosts over 10,000 Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav mandals. The Corporation will also arrange for disaster management training for all the Mandal members. To ensure all the necessary protocols are in place, the civic body has been tasked to undertake periodic checks and prevent over-crowding. The President of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti Naresh Dahibaokar said that mandals carried out immersions in artificial water bodies last year, and some had only symbolic celebrations.
He further mentioned that since several members are vaccinated this year, there are demands of allowing immersions only in water bodies. They have also asked the civic body to allow 20 fully vaccinated members for immersions in the sea.