The BMC’s policy that imposed several restrictions on Ganesh mandals may get even stricter.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) drafted a policy last month and listed a number of conditions that the mandals needed to fulfil before constructing the pandals. Sources in the civic body said mandals may not be allowed to set up pandals if they think the temporary structures would obstruct vehicular movement or inconvenience pedestrians.
In a coordination meeting on Thursday, Ganesh mandals requested the mayor and civic officials to ensure uniformity in granting permissions. The clause III of the policy made it mandatory for the mandals to arrange an alternate route if the structures are found obstructing pedestrian or vehicular movement.
Civic officials said the policy on pandals may change as the high court was not happy with the BMC giving the mandals the option to have an alternate route. The changes would mean no obstruction to vehicular and pedestrian traffic will be tolerated.
In response to a public interest litigation, the HC told the civic body to ensure that the movement of vehicles and pedestrians should not get affected by pandals erected on roads and pavements.
A senior civic official, who does not wish to be named, said, “We will first ask the mandals to reduce the size of the pandals. We may even refuse permissions if site visits indicate huge obstruction to pedestrian or vehicular movement. Permissions will be based on the police and traffic department’s NOCs.”
Naresh Dahibaonkar, coordination committee chairman between the mandals and authorities, said, “We will take utmost care to avoid any obstruction to the pedestrians or to the vehicular traffic. We also would request the civic body to maintain uniformity in implementing the policy.”
Civic chief Ajoy Mehta said: “We request that the pedestrian or vehicular movement is not hampered. We will also look in to all the requests so that the festival is enjoyed and the court’s orders are also followed.”
When asked if changes will be made to the policy, Mehta said, “The focus will be on smooth traffic a as per the court’s order. However, no change will be made to the policy.”