At Tilak Nagar, a grand pandal on a tight budget | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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At Tilak Nagar, a grand pandal on a tight budget

mumbai Updated: Aug 19, 2010 03:18 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Tilak Nagar’s famous Sahyadri Krida Mandal Ganeshotsav committee is on a shoestring budget this year. At least that is what the organisers of this pandal, patronised by underworld don Chhota Rajan, want you to believe.

“This year’s expenditure will be a little over Rs 50,000. Not more,” said P.G. Patil, the mandal’s joint secretary.

With these limited resources, the mandal is building a replica of the 12th century Vitthal temple in the historical Hampi temple complex in Karnataka. The Ganesh idol will be in stalled in this structure, which is being designed by Bollywood art director Rashid Khan.

The funds for building the structure--120 feet in length, 40 feet wide and 30 feet high (tentatively)—were raised through contribution from 10,000 households in Tilak Nagar, New Vrindavan colony and New Tilak Nagar. That is Rs 5 from each household. “People unnecessarily associate names with our mandal,” Patil said when asked about Rajan’s ‘blessings’ for the mandal. “But in reality, things are quite different.”

Conservative estimates of the cost of materials to build the replica—wooden panels, plywood, iron ingots and plaster of Paris moulds among others--will cost at least Rs one crore. Add to this, wages of at least 60 artisans working in two shifts, hundreds of labourers, civil engineers, carpenters, private security personnel and cost for lighting. Sources said all this will cost at least Rs. three crore.

Khan’s team stayed in Hampi for more than two months to study the temple’s structure.

The police are watching closely. R.M. Gavit, senior inspector of Tilak Nagar police station, said a key functionary of the mandal was recently rounded up in an extortion case while several others have gone underground after the murder of former Rajan aide, Farid Tanasha. “We will maintain round-the-clock vigil at the venue. We have asked the organisers to install close circuit cameras to maintain surveillance on all access roads,” Gavit said.