Mumbai: Fifteen people died during idol immersion proceedings this Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra, as thousands of devotees bid adieu to the elephant-headed God in various corners of the state. Till last night, 11 deaths were reported across the state. The figure rose to 15 today, officials at the state police headquarters here said. Three persons drowned during Ganesh idol immersion in the Shivani lake near Bidkin in Aurangabad district yesterday, while four people lost their lives in Pune, two in Jalgaon and one each in Nashik and Beed districts. According to police, four more deaths were reported today- one each in Nashik, Ahmednagar, Satara, and Parbhani.
However, the exact detail of the deaths is not yet known. The famous ‘Lalbaughcha Raja’ idol was immersed in the Arabian Sea off Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai this morning after a 22-hour long procession. The ‘Dagduseth Halwai’ Ganesh idol in Pune was immersed after a 20-hour long procession. The immersion processions of Ganesh idols had begun yesterday amidst much fanfare and tight security, marking culmination of the Ganesh festival that began on August 25. Around 7,000 ‘sarvajanik’ (public) idols and over 33,000’gharguti’ (home) idols were immersed here till 7 am today at various spots, which included beaches, natural and artificial ponds, an official from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) told PTI.
Many idols were immersed in artificial ponds, set up by the BMC to prevent pollution of natural water bodies. Chanting ‘Ganpati Bappa Moraya, pudhchya varshi lavkaryaa’ (Lord, come back quickly next year), devotees from all walks of life and age groups flooded the streets. The lengthy processions could not dampen the spirit ofthe devotees who were seen singing and dancing on the streets. The prime locations for the idol immersion in Mumbai wereGirgaum Chowpatty, Juhu beach, Powai lake, Dadar Chowpatty, Madh jetty and Marve.
The authorities had also deployed helicopters and dronesfor surveillance. Lifeguards were deployed at various water bodies, while control cells and first-aid centers were set up across the city. Motor boats and ambulances were also kept ready for any exigency. The civic body had also set up portable toilets. As many as 9,000 BMC employees oversaw the immersion proceedings. The BMC had appealed devotees to inform the civil authorities if they needed any assistance or if they were stung by jelly fish or sting ray along the beaches.