The three new flyovers that have come up on the Sion-Lalbaug stretch over the past few months may have eased traffic woes to an extent, but they are posing a problem for lord Ganesh and his devotees. Several idols from the area have traditionally been tall and are likely to find it difficult to pass under these newly-constructed flyovers.
Take the case of the GSB Seva Mandal in Matunga, which has an 18.3 feet tall idol. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Development Authority (MMRDA), which has constructed these flyovers, is approving idols up to 17.10 feet in height. Each year, the mandal's procession takes the Ambedkar Road from Aurora Theatre to reach Tilak Bridge, from where it heads towards Girgaum for immersion. The MMRDA has built two new flyovers between Aurora theatre and Tilak Bridge.
"The clearance height by the MMRDA is 17.10 feet and the height of our idol is 18.3 feet. We have asked the traffic authorities to allow us to go one signal ahead, near Babubhai Jagjeevandas showroom, then pass under the bridge, and come to Dadar TT to get on the Tilak Brigde," said Satisk Nayak , senior trustee of the mandal.
He pointed out that taking this diversion with 30,000 devotees will increase traffic congestion and pose problems for other mandals. "Earlier, we asked the traffic police to break a portion of the divider so that the idol can pass under the bridge," said another office bearer.
The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti - the umbrella body of all the Ganpati mandals in the city - has asked mandals to find alternate routes and use trolleys instead of trucks to reduce the height of the idol.
Meanwhile Dilip Kawathkar, project director, MMRDA said that they have maintained the height of the bridges at 5.5 metres as per the norms.
"If it was a problem, the mandals should have approached us," said Kawathkar. Dahibhawkar said that they asked the MMRDA for meetings regarding Ganesh processions, but the civic body didn't bother to respond.