The city police may get help from a separate force of about 1,00,000 volunteers to maintain law and order during the Ganeshotsav festival, if approved by the state.
The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samnavay Samiti (BSGSS) has proposed setting up a parallel force of 10 volunteers from each of the 10,000 mandals in the city to assist the police in security matters during the festival.
“At a meeting earlier this month with senior police officials, we said that they should train 10 volunteers from each mandal to maintain law and order during the festival, as security is very crucial since the festival draws huge crowds to the mandals,” said Naresh Dahibawkar, president of BSGSS.
“We will propose this to the chief minister too and are urging him to call for a meeting as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made.”
The chief minister usually meets members of the Samiti a few days prior to the festival.
BSGSS wants the police to train members — referred to as ‘ Gansevaks’ — in maintaining law and order and to handle accidents or unforeseen situations during the 10-day festival.
Mumbai police spokesperson DCP Satyanarayan Chaudhary said, “We have been working with volunteers for the festival every year, and we would like to cooperate with them this year as well.” He, however, did not comment on the proposal.
Meanwhile, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s disaster management cell has been organising training sessions for organisers and members of mandals for the last two years where first-aid techniques and fire management skills are taught.