Dahi handi mandals opt out of grand festivities, to donate for flood relief
Several Dahi Handi mandals across the city have decided to opt out of the celebrations this year and instead donate the money for rehabilitation of those hit by the floods in Kolhapur and Sangli. The move, even though welcome, has left Govinda teams worried.
Ram Kadam, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Ghatkopar, who is known for his grand Dahi Handi celebrations, with celebrities and cash prizes worth ₹1 crore, said: “Floods have devastated western Maharashtra and many people have lost their lives and houses. We need to focus on relief work instead of spending money on Dahi Handi celebrations.”
Although he did not disclose the amount he plans to donate, he urged other organisers too to cancel their events.
Kalidas Kolambkar, an MLA from Wadala, who organises Dahi Handi celebrations at Naigaon in Dadar, also announced that he will send ₹5.55 lakh meant for prizes to flood victims. “He will contribute to the CM’s disaster relief fund,” said Kolambkar’s spokesperson.
Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti (DHSS), the umbrella body of Govinda pathaks, is approaching other organisers to continue with the celebrations. Arun Patil, executive president, DHSS, said, “Youngsters in our teams have been practising for several months now. Cancelling festivities at the last minute will affect their morale. Some of the organisers such as Pratap Sarnaik have already held a trial round. Sachin Ahir (a former NCP MLA who has now joined the Shiv Sena) has also assured us that he will organise the celebrations.”