Around 40,000 more homes in Mumbai will host Ganpati this year, taking the tally of household Ganeshas to 2.25 lakh in the city, according to data from the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS). The city will also play host to 250 big Ganesh pandals, the data said.
Last year, the city saw 1.86 lakh household idols during the 10-day festival and 11,556 Sarvajanik Ganesh pandals.
“The fact that there are more household idols means citizens have decided to focus more on celebrating a simple festival this year,” said BSGSS president Naresh Dahibhavkar, adding that the demand for small clay idols this year saw a 100% rise.
“There is also more awareness among the masses to celebrate an eco-friendly festival and save the city from beach litter.”
Dahibhavkar said specific guidelines have been provided to all Sarvajanik mandals.
“Three main highlights this year are as follows — no dispute in caste or religion-related matters, no violation of environmental laws, especially those related to noise and beach pollution and the safety of women across the city,” he said, adding that the mandals need to strictly follow these rules that were decided in consultation with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The Mumbai city collectorate released a notification on Monday morning and submitted it to the BSGSS, saying noise rules will be relaxed on the four immersion days – with loudspeakers being allowed till midnight.
As per the Environment Protection Act, 1986, and Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, the use of loudspeakers or public address systems is banned from 10pm to 6am, except 15 days in a year, mostly during festivals.
On Monday, HT reported that Ganpati mandals were not aware about the days when they would be permitted to use loudspeakers beyond 10 pm. While the state environment department said the collector was supposed to issue an order, the latter cited a Bombay high court order and said it was the state government’s job.
There are four immersion days — September 6, 9, 10 and 15 --- and idols will be immersed at beaches such as Girgaum chowpatty, Juhu, Versova, Aksa and Dadar. This time, the city has 26 artificial ponds for mostly household idol immersions.
“Wards A,B, C and D do not have any artificial immersions sites,” said Dahibhavkar. “A month before the festival, we had asked the chief minister and civic body to look into the matter. However, nothing happened this year.”
Last year, more than two lakh idols were immersed, leaving 3,059 metric tonnes of waste on the city’s beaches — roughly the amount of garbage sent to the Deonar dumping ground daily.
As millions of people take the streets on Monday, popular mandals at Lalbaug and Ganesh Gali are expecting 1.3 crore people over the next 11 days, while the richest mandal, GSB King’s Circle and the oldest mandal Keshavji Naik Chawl, Girgaum, are expecting more than 70 lakh people this year.