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Sewricha Raja Ganpati mandal to show how Mumbai’s Mithi went from river to nullah

Organisers of Prabodhan Thakre Udyan, also known as Sewri cha Raja, has created a model of the river for devotees to spread awareness

mumbai Updated: Aug 23, 2017 09:49 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Ganeshotsav,Mumbai,Sewri
The model of the river created by the mandal.

A lot of polluted water has flowed down the Mithi river to widespread concern. This Ganeshotsav, a mandal at Sewri has taken it upon itself to spread awareness on the toxic Mithi river. How? Organisers of Prabodhan Thakre Udyan, also known as Sewri cha Raja, have created a model of the river for devotees.

The mandal sees nearly 7,000 visitors daily during the 10-day festival.

Celebrating its 66th Ganeshotsav, the mandal through the model will highlight how the river, which used to carry clean water, has turned into a nullah, thanks to construction around it. It will also use thermocol to show the river current.

The mandal, located opposite the Sewri bus depot, has also made models of Sewri Fort, featuring flamingos. These birds visit the Sewri-Mahul creek every year.

Over the years, various courts have taken the authorities to task for failing to revive the river.

On August 16, the Supreme Court (SC) criticised the state government for neglecting the upkeep of the 15-km Mithi river for the past 12 years, despite the 2005 Mumbai floods that killed more than 1,000 people.

The river meets the Arabian Sea at Mahim creek, starting from Powai and coursing through Kurla, Saki Naka, Kalina and Vakola. It has been reduced to a nullah, into which sewage, garbage and industrial waste are dumped. According to experts, nearly 54% of the original riverbed has been lost to encroachments, roads and development.

“The condition of the river has gone from bad to worse over the past decade. It is the need of the hour for the public to realise that this water body, which is today viewed as nullah (sewer), used to be a clean river with mangroves on either side. It was an asset for the financial capital,” said Shrikant Jadhav, president of the mandal. Similar themes have been adopted by the mandal over the past 15 years.

“Last year, our focus was water conservation. We highlighted the plight of farmers from drought-hit Marathwada and we were awarded the first prize by the state,” said Jadhav.

This year, the mandal has a 15-foot idol made from Plaster-of-Paris. The idol’s feet have been made with gold. The mandal collected Rs16 lakh in donations last year.

Last month, the umbrella body of Ganesh mandals in the city, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), held a meeting in which similar themes on social issues were discussed. “The rejuvenation of rivers is a very important environmental concern in Mumbai. Since the Sewri cha Raja is a big mandal, we wanted them to follow up this issue and make the public aware of it. We hope that the state takes notice of the model,” said Naresh Dahibhavkar, president, BSGSS.

First Published: Aug 23, 2017 09:49 IST