Anant Chaturdashi, the day of immersion for the biggest Ganesh idols in the city, has always been a challenge for security agencies. This year, however, the task is tougher.
Following the blast in Delhi on Wednesday, central intelligence agencies have sounded a massive alert for Sunday's festivities in Mumbai, which coincide with the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Centre (WTC) attack in the United States of America.
As a result, for the first time ever, vehicles carrying idols of prominent mandals will be fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to enable police to track their movement. Members of the mandals
accompanying these vehicles have also been issued special identity cards.
A highly placed source in the Mumbai police told HT on Friday about plans to track movement of vehicles carrying Ganpati idols. “[The GPS devices] will allow police to monitor movement of these vehicles from the police control room,” said the source.
In addition, Traffic police have been asked to provide a separate lane for these vehicles. “The moment an unidentified vehicle is spotted [on screen] in the lane dedicated for these vehicles, it will be intercepted and removed. The vehicle could be carrying explosives,” the source added.
The police also want to ensure that no one other than bona fide volunteers go near these vehicles and have issued identity cards to members of Ganpati mandals, and their volunteers.
Deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Operations, Manohar Dalvi confirmed the initiative and said that it was in keeping with the heightened security
measures initiated by the Mumbai police following the nation-wide alert sounded after the Delhi blast.
In addition, teams from the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad would be deployed all along the routes of the immersion procession to scan suspicious vehicles and objects.
“By deploying multiple units, we will reduce the response time,” Dalvi added.
Additional commissioner of police, traffic, Brijesh Singh said that the special lanes have already been earmarked on various city roads all Ganesh mandals had been intimated.