Several city mandals saw a marked rise in footfall and donations from devotees this Ganeshotsav, with Ganesh Galli’s Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal registering a collection of Rs70 lakh in cash, a two-fold rise from last year. At Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, organisers claimed to have received a footfall of over 1.25 crore people over ten days, almost 25 lakh more from last year. The ten-day collection at the mandal looked set to cross last year’s mark of Rs8 crore, with collections up to Wednesday reaching Rs6.5 crore.
More than 1,200 immersions took place at Girgaum Chowpatty on Saturday, with some continuing till Sunday morning.
“While about 184 steel plates had been laid out at the beach to ensure smooth movement of vehicles, they weren’t enough,” said Naresh Dahibawkar, president, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), an umbrella body of mandals in the city. Dahibawkar added, “Next year, we are going to ask the civic body to put more steel plates to ensure greater safety.”
Immersion on Saturday saw two near misses of a repeat of last year’s incident when a 21-foot Ganpati idol had fallen en route to immersion. Officials claimed that two trolleys carrying idols of about 12 feet temporarily lost balance at Girgaum Chowpatty, causing panic among the crowd.
However, some mandal organisers claimed that they witnessed an idol falling at Girgaum Chowpatty during Saturday’s visarjan. “An idol from Khetwadi fell at the beach and several of our volunteers rushed to help,” said Mangesh Patade, secretary, Tejukaya Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal.