Wadala GSB mandal cancels Ganpati celebrations due to coronavirus
This year’s Ganeshotsav celebrations may be muted because of the Covid-19 pandemic. On Monday, one of the richest Ganpati mandals in the city, Goud Saraswat Brahmin Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti of Wadala, announced its decision to postpone its Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations to February 2021 due to the outbreak of Covid-19. Other mandals said they intend to go ahead with their plans for Ganesh Chaturthi, which is on August 22.
Popularly known as GSB Wadala, the mandal’s 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are extremely popular. Ulhas Kamat, president of the mandal, said “We have lakhs of people visiting our pandal. With the guidelines that are in place, we know it will be difficult to manage the crowds.” Social distancing norms defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) require people to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between one another. “So, for the safety of everyone, we have decided that celebrations will be held during Maghi Ganpati,” said Kamat. Maghi Ganesh Chaturthi will begin on February 15, 2021.
The 66-year-old GSB Wadala is considered one of the richest mandals in the city and sees a footfall of 8,000 devotees per day.
“We will begin preparations for Ganeshotsav in November,” said Kamat, adding that the mandal also intended to have its regular Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in 2021.
Other mandals in the city said they intend to go ahead with the festivities in August. “We haven’t heard of any other Ganpati mandal deciding on postponement or cancellation of celebrations except GSB Wadala as of now,” said Naresh Dahibhavkar, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), the umbrella body of Ganpati mandals in the city.
RG Bhatt, trustee of Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Mandal, King’s Circle, said, “A Ganpati with a long legacy cannot just be postponed like this because that will mean a gap of a year, which religiously cannot be permitted. We will speak to the chief minister and decide on guidelines.”