After blasts, Ganesh mandals raise pandal security concerns | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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After blasts, Ganesh mandals raise pandal security concerns

In the wake of the recent serial blasts, Ganesh mandals across the city are now reviewing the security arrangements at the pandals for Ganesh Chaturthi festival that is less than 45 days away. They have also written to the police commissioner to help them train volunteers who would act as a field-level force.

mumbai Updated: Jul 18, 2011 01:13 IST
Bhavika Jain

In the wake of the recent serial blasts, Ganesh mandals across the city are now reviewing the security arrangements at the pandals for Ganesh Chaturthi festival that is less than 45 days away. They have also written to the police commissioner to help them train volunteers who would act as a field-level force.

There are over 12,000 Ganesh mandals in the city. The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, an umbrella body of all the mandals, said that they have asked the police and all famous mandals to install CCTVs in crowded areas such as Dadar, Parel, Girgaum, Lalbaug and to make provision for monitor stations in the pandal premises.

Naresh Dahibavkar, co-ordinator of the body, said: “Mandals with more footfalls have been securing their premise with metal detectors, friskers, and CCTV’s in the pandals. We are worried about the security of the areas in the vicinity of the pandals.”

Though earlier, the CCTVs would be installed only in the premises and the parking lots, following the blast, the body has insisted on extending the network to neighbouring areas, along the approach roads, and also to the stalls of prasad and flowers.

The management committee of the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Mandal at King Circle, one of the richest mandals in the city, held a meeting on Saturday to discuss the security issues and have decided to augment the security arrangements.

“Not just the pandal premises, we will increase the surveillance along the approach roads too,” said Satish Nayak, senior trustee of the mandal.

“We plan to meet the police officials in our area and discuss what else can be done to increase the security cover for the Ganesh pandals with them,” Nayak added.

“We will ensure that activities in the neighbouring areas are monitored closely during and before the festival,” he said.

“Mandals have also written to police commissioner, Arup Patnaik, to seek his help in training volunteers from each mandal.”

Added Dahibavkar: “We had written to the police commissioner twice before the blasts asking his staff to train our volunteers. But there has been no response from his end.”

“I hope now, with the city being put on high-alert, they will respond to our request,” he added.

A few mandals have also decided to publish a guidebook with numbers such as those of the bomb squad, local police and fire brigade.

The book will also have sections on dos and don’ts on finding an unclaimed bag or a person with suspicious moves.