Despite the civic body’s recommendation to keep the height of Ganesh idols at or under 18 feet, idols at several mandals in the city will be taller than that.
At Ganesh Galli’s Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, the idol will stand tall at 22 feet. “Since 1977, the idol height has been 22 feet. It has been our tradition,” said mandal secretary Swapnil Parab on Wednesday.
The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), an umbrella body of the city’s Ganesh mandals, had suggested the height limit to the civic body after a meeting in May. “For several years, civic authorities and environmentalists had asked us to keep the height of the idols in check. We decided on a height of 18 feet from the ground,” said Naresh Dahibawkar, president, BSGSS.
Dahibawkar said that idols at about 20 city mandals had crossed the height limit. “While some organisers have cited tradition for taller idols, others in low-lying areas use a platform to raise the idol to protect it from water during the rains, thus increasing the height,” said Dahibawkar. “However, we are confident that in the next two years, all mandals will abide by the norm,” he said.
“While the idol height at our mandal is about 14 feet, it has to be given a platform of at least six feet to protect it from water when it rains,” said Girish Walawalkar, from the Bal Gopal Ganeshotsav Mandal in Grant Road, and secretary of BSGSS.
Dahibawkar said that risks from tall idols arise mainly due to inefficient management during immersion and pothole-ridden roads. Last year, a 22-foot ganesh idol was damaged during immersion after a fall. “Last year’s accident was unfortunate, we are going to take more precautions this year by lowering the height,” said Secretary Mangesh Patade. However, mandals not heeding the recommendation won’t be facing penalties. “We will not take any action against the mandals whose idols cross the height limit, since there is no rule to that effect. The height limit was set after the BSGSS requested for it,” said Kishore Kshirsagar, deputy municipal commissioner in charge of Ganesh Chaturthi festivities.