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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Drought-hit Beed sees a water-starved Ganesh immersion

Residents don’t have the luxury of immersing the idols in rivers and ponds and have to make do with well filled with water and garbage

pune Updated: Sep 14, 2019 20:06 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
Ganpati immersion at a well in Kankaleshwar temple in Beed on Thursday, September 12. Water had to be pumped into the well for the occasion.
Ganpati immersion at a well in Kankaleshwar temple in Beed on Thursday, September 12. Water had to be pumped into the well for the occasion.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
         

The 10-day Ganesh festival in drought-hit Beed in Marathwada was concentrated near two dried wells that were brought to life for the visarjan (immersion) ceremony.

One of the wells frequented by the devout to immerse their Ganesh idols is located in Mominpura area of Beed near the Kankaleshwar temple adjacent to the dried-up Bindusara river. While water was pumped into this well from what had collected around the temple, in the other well near Khandeshwari temple, about three km away, water was brought in tankers and then released into the well.

“This has been our way of visarjan for the past 4-5 years,” said Amar Lokare, a member of the local Jai Malhar Mandal, about the immersion near the Kankaleshwar temple.

At the oblong well located near Khandeshwari temple, about three kilometres away, at least 30 tankers of various sizes requisitioned by the civic body, were emptied in the well in order to provide a visarjan spot to the citizens.

The two wells ran dry over four years ago when the drought gripped Beed and Latur districts of mid-western Maharashtra.

In water-starved Beed, the people don’t have the luxury of immersing the idols in rivers and ponds and have to make-do with a well filled with water and garbage.

Plastic bottles, thermacol cups, flowers, cotton garlands and synthetic ornaments used on all sizes of idols were seen in the well whose water had a foul smell even as the incense sticks filled the air.

The custom of immersing the idol thrice inside the water before finally letting it go was completely lost at the two wells. The idols of the elephant god were thrown off the edge unceremoniously.

“We have been installing a Ganapati idol in our house for the past 26 years. Earlier, the water used to be overflowing from the well. Now the tankers are emptied into it and people do not respect the customs. As you can see, children and young men are jumping in the water for fun and pulling out the idols before they are even immersed properly. There are no policemen visible either to control them,” said Mohan Raut, 50, a shopkeeper.

The water-starved celebration in Beed which began at noon on Thursday and was over by midnight was in complete contrast with the grand and elaborate celebrations in Pune and Mumbai.

The entire Beed distict of Beed has 1,391 registered Ganesh mandals whereas in Pune city alone, the number of Ganapati mandals registered with the police is 1,752.

Even as the underperforming monsoon clouds loomed over the taluka, the grim intensity of the drought condition made its presence felt.

First Published: Sep 13, 2019 14:51 IST