The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it has focused on pedestrians’ convenience while drafting the rules for setting up pandals for Ganeshotsav. The nine-page policy circular was issued to all 24 administrative wards by civic chief Ajoy Mehta recently.
The BMC’s move follows a directive the Bombay high court had issued to the state in March this year.
In the policy, the BMC has made it compulsory for all mandals to get approvals from the police, traffic and fire departments. It also requires organisers to submit a location map, with the sketch of the pandal – mentioning the length, width and height.
During the festival, organisers should ensure maps are put up near the pandals to direct pedestrians and vehicles and provide an alternate route.
The policy also makes it clear that the permission to erect temporary structures on the roads can be given under section 317 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888.
“The policy was issued by the civic chief, and all points mentioned in it will be implemented by ward officers. This policy will be presented in front of the high court. The act gives the civic chief the powers to allow a temporary structure on the roads,” said a civic officials, requesting anonymity.
The HC had asked the state to draft a policy to regulate pandals in March, before it ruled that citizens have the fundamental right to walk on roads and footpaths that are in good condition.
This should be considered by municipal commissioners before granting permission for pandals to be set up in public places. In light of this, vehicular and pedestrian movements have been given utmost priority, civic officials said.
The policy also makes it compulsory for mandals put up the permission from authorities at the entrance of the pandal.
While granting permissions for pandals near schools, hospitals, railway stations and auto/taxi stands, ward officers have been directed to ensure there is enough space for the free movement of people.
The policy says the BMC will charge the mandals for digging holes and not filling them up after the festival. Mehta said the process to grant permissions can be started a month before the festival. “The court had asked for a policy and the BMC is ready with it,” Mehta said.