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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Wary Mumbaikars keep away from the sea during Ganesha immersions

Mugdha Variyar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 13, 2013
First Published: 22:28 IST(13/9/2013) | Last Updated: 22:34 IST(13/9/2013)

For Girgaum resident Prakash Salunke, Ganpati visarjan on Friday was a step out of tradition, as he didn’t enter the sea to immerse the idol at Girgaum Chowpatty.

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Following Tuesday’s scare wherein more than 60 people were stung by marine creatures, the civic body advised devotees to stay out of water, while a team of lifeguards and volunteers used boats and floating platforms to immerse the idols.

“For the last ten years, I used to immerse the idol myself. But this year, I didn’t enter the water, as we had been advised not to,” said Salunke, who was accompanied by his family. “It was a necessary precaution and the municipal body has made good arrangements,” he said.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had arranged for four floating platforms and six boats for immersion. Several advisory boards about safety measures was put up across the beach, and devotees were advised to be careful through constant public announcements.

On Tuesday, during the one-and-a-half-day Ganpati immersions, more than 60 people were injured after they came in contact with marine creatures such as sting rays, jellyfish and eels at Girgaum Chowpatty.

Civic officials said the incident was a first to have affected people on such a large scale.

The civic body’s measures proved useful, as no such incident was reported on Friday.

“We have taken all precautions from our end, and no incident of devotees being injured in the sea was reported,” said Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner.

Parag Masurkar, assistant commissioner, D ward, said that 18 notice boards were put along the visarjan route to Girgaum Chowpatty for awareness, while 20 were put up at the beach.

“We have also distributed these awareness posters to all the ganpati mandals in our ward. On Friday, we set up a public address system covering the entire beach, and arranged for 67 lifegaurds to take care of immersions,” said Masurkar.

However, members of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), have demanded more measures for the final day of the festival, when most sarvajanik mandals will conduct visarjan.

“The crowd on the final day goes up to 15 lakh at visarjan points and the BMC must provide more number of boats and rafts,” said Naresh Dahibawkar, president, BSGSS.

Some statistics:

Total immersions at Girgaum chowpatty on Friday up to 8 30 pm - 2,600

Number of boats provided – 6

Number of floating platforms – 4

Number of lifeguards – 67

Number of advisory notice boards – 20 at the beach, 18 along the route


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