Dahi Handi: ‘Permit only those mandals that have insurance’
In an effort to abide by the Bombay high court (HC) directions of 2017 to improve safety measures during Dahi Handi celebrations, Mumbai Police and Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti (DHSS), the umbrella body of mandals, have asked organisers to allow only those mandals that have insured their members. They have also asked organisers to not allow mandals that allow participants below 14 years of age.
“Representatives of Govinda pathaks asked to emphasise on insurance when they met the commissioner. In the guidelines for organisers, we are going to mention this clause; otherwise their NOC could be revoked. Also, in case there is any incident, relevant sections under the IPC (Indian Penal Code) can be imposed,” said the spokesperson for Mumbai Police.
The DHSS had last year approved the plan to provide a life cover of Rs10 lakh for each Govinda. There are more than 950 teams across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai who have registered with the body. The HC had passed safety directions after instances of injuries and death among participants who compete to form multi-tiered human pyramids for prize money.
“Since it was an affidavit filed by us before the high court, we are ensuring that the safety of Govindas is not compromised, which is why the insurance amount was increased from ₹2 lakh to ₹10 lakh. We have asked organisers to not allow mandals who do not have insurance or are allowing participants below 14 years to take part,” said Bala Padelkar, chairman of DHSS.
Until Tuesday, 570 Govinda mandals had got themselves insured with The Oriental Insurance Company. “Last year, there were no death claims, but we cleared injury claims for around 35 Govindas after the festival,” said Sachin Khanvilkar, assistant manager, The Oriental Insurance Company.
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