Twelve students of two municipal schools in Parel have opposed surrogate advertising of tobacco by big Ganpati mandals in the area.
Through a two-day signature campaign these students obtained the consent of 7,000 devotees visiting the famous mandals in Parel to support their endeavour.
Salaam Bombay, a non-governmental organisation, helped these students submit a letter to the Kalachowkie police requesting authorities to pull down hoardings advertising tobacco products.
“We should not promote tobacco usage during religious festivals,” said Jaya Sakpal (14), a student of G.K. Marg Municipal School in Parel.
“It is important to create awareness about the ill effects of tobacco and laws restricting its consumption. This campaign is one way of doing it.”
However, Ganesh mandals are extremely unhappy with this move since these hoardings bring them a lot of revenue.
“Our mandal functions because of such sponsors. We will have to stop celebrating the festival if we reject their sponsorships,” said Pradeep Jadhav, president, Ganesh Galli Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal.
But the police are in no hurry to handle this. “We will deal with this only once we are free from the busy Ganpati schedule,” said a police inspector, requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
These students have been performing 10-minute skits on the effects of tobacco consumption and ways to get rid of this addiction at various Ganpati mandals.