The Ganpati mandals in Mumbai want a temporary boat jetty at Girgaum Chowpatty to help with idol immersions during Ganesh Chaturthi.
The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), the umbrella organisation of Ganesh mandals, has asked chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to push for the project.
The jetty and boat, the mandals said, would help them carry the idols deeper into the sea before immersing them. In the past, idols immersed in shallow waters have ended up being washed up on the beach after the festival, hurting the sentiments of the devotees, said the association. It had also written to the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), which builds jetties, to arrange for the facility.
Speaking about the meeting with Fadnavis, president of BSGSS Naresh Dahibavkar said, “The chief minister liked the idea and has taken the proposal into consideration. He said he would try to get it implemented as quickly as possible.”
“The jetty, if constructed, will make the immersion process easier and disciplined. It will also prevent the idols from getting washed ashore the next day. There are around 2,800 sarvajanik and over 18,000 household Ganpati idols that are brought to Girgaum Chowpatty for visarjan during the festival,” he added. According to the association, the boats can carry the idols more than 100 metres away from the shore before they are immersed.
In order to make the immersion process eco-friendly, the mandals want to spread nets in the immersion spots so that the idols are not carried out into the sea and can be collected later.
“We could fish out the idols, especially the ones made of plaster of paris, sometime after they are immersed,” said Tukaram Raut, treasurer of BSGSS.
Purshottam Vartak, committee member of the association, said the makeshift jetty can be used even after the festival. “It would not be a dead asset. The government can generate income by it throughout the year by allowing additional activities like water sports or swimming,” Vartak said.
The MMB officials refused to comment on the demands of the association.