The city’s most popular Ganesh idol, Lalbaugcha Raja, will get a massive security cover this year.
Security requirement at this Parel mandal has doubled this year as its popularity has increased.
The Mumbai police are going to deploy a massive contingent of more than 1,500 personnel round-the-clock for the security of the devotees.
Police sources said the
total number of personnel deployed at Lalbaugcha Raja (including the mandal’s private security) will be between 4,500 and 5,000.
The police expect at least six lakh devotees to visit the pandal on any day.
The deployment is likely to increase by a couple of hundreds on Saturday, the first day.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) R.M. Vhatkar told Hindustan Times that security at the Lalbaugcha Raja has been given maximum priority keeping in mind the crowd and the security risk it faces.
He said while the police will ensure maximum deployment, mandals have been asked to rope in volunteers and private security personnel.
This year, the police estimate the queue of devotees to be 8-km long in both directions leading to the pandal. One will have to wait for at least 10 hours to reach the idol.
For the convenience of devotees, the police have asked the mandal to break the linear queues with zebra barricades at two points.
The organisers will put up sheds at these and serve refreshments to devotees.
Vhatkar said the city’s security needs have also increased this festive season because of a nation-wide alert. More than 17,000 policemen will be deployed all over the city throughout the 10-day celebrations.
Organisers have been instructed to keep vehicle parking spots at a safe distance from the venue.
The sniffer dog attached to the bomb squad will conduct periodic checks at all the parking spots, while Quick Response Team commandos and strike mobile vans will be deployed at all sensitive spots.
All mandals have also been asked to put up close circuit television systems at their venues and monitor the crowd from control rooms.