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Mumbai: Ganesha mandals denied pandal permission

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Mumbai: As Ganesh Chaturthi draws closer, many mandals across the city have alleged they are not getting permissions from the BMC to set up pandals this year. While on the one hand the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started giving online permissions and no-objection certificates from its website, there are mandals which are not getting permissions even to erect pandals.

As many as nine Ganpati mandals in Khetwadi alleged they have been denied permission to set up pandals this year. They said permission was denied on the grounds that these mandals had failed to secure permission from the BMC last year. “All the mandals are more than 60 years old and have been abiding by the rule book for the past 25 years. If they didn’t take permission last year, there is no rule which states that permission should be denied this year,” said Naresh Dahibavkar, president of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshostsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS). He added until last year, some mandals got permission to set up pandals on the day of visarjan. Organisers from Khetwadi said they were informed there were problems related to the issuance of no-objection certificates (NOCs) last year, owing to height norms.

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“So, this year we decided to fine-tune arrangements by trying to secure all necessary permissions required. We have also taken care of everything else the high court had stated,” said Deepak Solanki, one of the organisers.  The Bombay High Court had passed orders relating to the layout and location of pandals to ensure the safety of visitors. “There is a possibility that some mandals may have flouted the court order and did not receive NOCs last year. This year, their permission will be analysed on the basis of the guidelines laid down by the court, following which we will take a call,” said an official from D-ward. The 14 lanes of Khetwadi are famous for their decoration and huge, bejewelled Ganesha idols, with most of them organising festivities for more than 50 years now.