Ganpati mandals in chawls and old building complexes in Mumbai have found generous donors in the form of city-based developers.
The builders are spending lakhs on sponsorship with an eye on redevelopment. With Ganeshotsav being one of the most popular festivals in the city, the builders want to woo locals by making their presence felt through sponsorship. As a result, the idols have got bigger, decorations more grandeur, and there a variety of cultural programmes being organised by mandals.
For instance, the Shreepati Group is sponsoring around a dozen mandals in Parel and Girguam. "Since we own the buildings, we are bound to support them," said Rajendra Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director, Shreepati Group, adding that the group offers at least Rs 2-3 lakh per mandal.
Even the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) believes that sponsorship by entities from the realty industry to Ganpati mandals has increased manifold in recent times. "As the redevelopment market has improved in recent times, builders also contribute to the festivals, which are a part of local culture," said Sunil Mantri, president, MCHI.
According to Sunil Mane, chairman, Vignahartha Builders Private Limited, builders are bound to offer money. "We have to offer money to ensure that our projects can proceed smoothly. It does not make sense to anger anyone," said Mane.
Hence, Ganpati mandals have giant display boards and banners of realty firms put up outside their pandals. It’s also a common sight to see volunteers wearing t-shirts with the developers name written on it. However, many rue the commercialisation of the festival.
According to Pandurang Jadhav, former president, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Coordination Committee, the apex body of the mandals, builders offer money just as a bait to the organisers. "Since the organising committee is in most cases also the managing committee, which can decide about the redevelopment, builders keep them in good humour," said Jadhav, adding that the goodies are temporary. "After the towers are built, you will hardly see the builders."