Mumbai : Caught in the rigmarole of Ganesh Chaturthi pandal permissions and online glitches, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now decided to accept offline applications from those seeking permission for the festival. The application forms, however, will be provided online.
Additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal has directed all ward officers to accept hard copies of required documents from Ganesh mandals and feed them into the online system. But the final permission will be given online, said civic officials.
During the meeting held between the umbrella body of Ganesh mandals and civic officials on Friday evening, organisers also expressed concern over safe transport of the idols, as the usual routes for arrival and immersion are either blocked or barricaded due to ongoing metro construction work.
Agreeing to the civic body’s request, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) has agreed to shift its barricades, wherever metro work is under way, while Ganesh mandals bring their idols home. The decision was taken during a recent meeting between BMC, MMRCL and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
Singhal has asked civic officials to spread the message to Ganesh mandals in their areas. The civic body has also promised to train Ganesh mandal officials in the use of the online system. Ward-level officials have been asked to assist mandals fill forms by asking them to get the required documents to the concerned BMC ward.
In an effort to improve the application-approval rate, the civic body had introduced the online system in all the 24 wards. From this year onwards, the BMC has also made it compulsory for all mandals to get approvals from the police, traffic and the fire department.
The mandals, however, claim the online system is slow, causing a delay in obtaining permissions. Mandal functionaries have expressed their satisfaction at the decision. “It was needed since we were facing problems and the BMC had not made much effort to explain to mandals on how the application form was to be filled,” said Narendra Dahibavkar, president of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti.