Maharashtra has geared up for massive processions during idol immersion as the ten-day Ganesh festival will draw to a close on Friday.
The authorities in Mumbai and other parts of the state have made elaborate arrangements.
The festival dedicated to the elephant-headed god had begun on August 31. At the culmination of the festival on Anant Chaturdashi, the idols of Lord Ganesh are taken to nearby water bodies and immersed. Devotees take the idols for immersion in a grand processions.
The idols of Lord Ganesh were installed in homes and public pandals across the state with pomp and gaiety this year with the coronavirus pandemic no longer casting its shadow on the celebrations. The pandemic-induced restrictions had curtailed the celebration in the last two years.
The authorities in Mumbai, Pune and other parts of the state have made elaborate arrangements for the immersion of idols and processions.
Processions began in Mumbai and other parts of the state on Friday morning amid chants of “Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Lavkar Ya”, beating of drums and sprinkling of gulal.
In Mumbai, more than 20,000 police personnel as well as other specialised units will be on duty.
The festivities this year were held without COVID-19 pandemic norms and several thousand people are expected to take part in immersion processions across Mumbai, an official has said.
The immersions will take place at Girgaon Chowpatty (beach), Shivaji Park, Bandra, Juhu and Malad, apart from 70 natural lakes as well as artificial ponds made by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), he added.
Girgaon Chowpatty is one of the major spots for immersion of popular idols like Lalbaugcha Raja.
“Expecting huge crowds, the deployment comprises more than 15,500 police personnel, 3,200 police officers, eight State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) companies, one Rapid Action Force (RAF) company, 750 home guards and 250 trainees. There will also be a large posse of traffic police,” the official said.
Police personnel will be on a strict vigil across the city to thwart any untoward incident during the immersion processions and to maintain the law and order situation, he said.
There will be traffic restrictions on several roads as well as diversion in Mumbai on Friday, so people wanting to boards flights or long-distance trains must make arrangements accordingly, the official added.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it has put in place facilities for the immersion of idols at 73 natural and 162 artificial water bodies across the city. About 10,000 civic personnel, including officials, will be on duty.
The BMC has set up 188 control rooms in 24 civic wards across for the Ganesh festival, it said, adding that 786 lifeguards will be deputed at the various immersion points. Also, 188 first aid centres will be set up and 83 ambulances will be arranged at key locations.
The civic body has also arranged 45 motor boats and 39 German barges for the immersion of Ganesh idols, while 48 inspection towers have been erected and barricades have been put some place for safety reasons, the release said.
For improved visibility at immersion points, 3,069 flood lights and 71 searchlights have been installed and 211 reception rooms created for better coordination, it added.
In Pune, more than 8,000 police personnel will patrol the streets for Ganesh idol immersions, a senior official said.
Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said CCTVs had been installed at several spots in the city for monitoring, while many roads will have traffic restrictions and diversions.
“Nearly 3,000 registered Ganesh pandals will carry out immersions. They will be allowed to play music only till midnight. All guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court will have to be followed strictly,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)