If all goes well, the dizzying heights that Ganesh idols reach in the city’s mandals will be a thing of the past.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS) has decided to limit the heights of idols, along with their seat, to 18 feet this year. This decision was made after taking into account environmental concerns as well as last year’s incident where the 22-foot high idol of the Tejukaya Ganesh mandal fell, damaging the idol badly.
In the city, the average height of idols along with their seats is around 20-25 feet.
Incidentally, this decision marks a u-turn by city’s Ganesh mandals, who had vehemently declined to follow a similar proposal made in 2009 by the then mayor Dr Shubha Raul. Dr Raul had requested the mandals to reduce heights of idols to 12-15 feet, citing environmental concerns. Mandals, however, had snubbed her proposal, leading to even her party, the Shiv Sena, publicly backtracking on the proposal.
However, the Samiti is confident that this time mandals will adhere. “Most of our members have agreed to the idea of restricting the height of idols,” said Naresh Dahibawkar, president of the Samiti.
A senior civic official, on request of anonymity said, “We cannot enforce such rules by the stick. In case there are mandals which don’t follow the rule, we will interact with them and make them understand the environmental benefits to the rule.”
However, Ram Khatse, the trustee of the Tejukaya mandal, whose idol-accident necessitated this decision, had doubts about the practicality of the decision. “Our idols alone are not more than 10-12 feet. However, there is a trolley along with the idol’s throne which adds an additional 7-8 feet alone, making the 18-foot rule impractical.”