The 10-day Ganesh festival began in Maharashtra on Sunday with traditional fervour with people heralding the elephant-headed god into their homes, downplaying concerns about swine flu, rains and terror alerts.
Ganesh idols were installed at public Ganesh mandals and in lakhs of homes in Mumbai with people going about in processions, bringing the 'god of wisdom' to their homes, even as it drizzled in several parts of the city.
In the backdrop of terror alerts, Mumbai police has drawn up an elaborate security plan for the festival that includes setting up of watch towers and installing CCTVs at crucial points. Security personnel have been deployed at strategic locations and 50 watch towers have been set up to monitor the crowd.
Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads (BDDS) have been deployed in prominent Ganesh mandals and the organisers asked to install CCTVs, police said.
The popular 'Lalbaugcha Raja' Ganesh mandal in central Mumbai has got an insurance cover of Rs four crore.
About 5,500 'sarvajanik' (public) mandals celebrate the festival by installing big Ganesh idols which are immersed at
88 points in the city.
To check the spread of swine flu, safety masks are being distributed to security personnel, a police official said,
adding that three lakh masks have been ordered.