Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has further pushed forward the deadline for Ganpati mandals to submit online applications to September 5. This is the third such extension in one week. Until August 27, the BMC had received 2,360 applications for pandals, of which they had issued permissions to only 1,425 mandals. Last year, there were 2,200 Ganesh mandals on city roads, footpaths and housing society premises.
“There has been an increase in the number of mandals registering because of the online process. Until they get clearances from the BMC, they cannot approach traffic authorities,” said Naresh Dahibavkar, president of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS).
However, the civic body has claimed the online registration procedure has been successful in its first year of inception. “We have completed almost all the procedures. Since it is the first year, it is taking some time. From next year, mandals need not furnish these wide range of documents for permission as it will be in our online records,” said a BMC official. However, Ganeshotsav mandals say the ground reality is different. Shivaji Khairnar, a Jogeshwari Ganesh mandal president and a member of BSGSS, said they also faced hardships in acquiring permissions and are still awaiting a confirmation. “The corporation should have a dedicated officer for such festival permissions. They should have started the public campaigning much earlier. Then, all mandals would have been aware of the process.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the umbrella body and the BMC launched a booklet of rules and regulations the pandals have to ensure during the festival. “The booklet contains the code of conduct on noise pollution control, fire safety and other security measures mandals have to take,” said Dahibavkar.
Confusion over online registration prevails
Amidst all the online registration ruckus, for many Ganesh mandals, are still confused as to how it works and the option of filling the registration forms offline as well. Many mandals have complained the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) website has errors which leads to delay, or sometimes, failure of system. “We tried many times to register online but majority of the time, the website showed an error. Or it said the documents that needed to be attached were not clear.
We spent hours on what we could do in a while manually,” said a Vikhroli Ganpati mandal. Many mandals on private properties said confusion still persists since these mandals are allowed offline as well as online registration. However, few mandals knew they had to get registered in the first place. “Even the police, traffic and fire brigade departments were unaware of the option of applying offline,” said Sakharam Vishnu, a treasurer of a Goregaon Ganpati mandal.
By August 28, around 209 mandals had applied for permission with BMC. To ease the process and clear all confusion, the BMC has decided to give permission to such mandals online as well as offline. Narendra Barde, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, said both the options are available for Ganpati mandals on private properties. “Both the options are available for these mandals — offline as well as online. We are not forcing them to submit only manual or only online forms.” However, all pandals falling on BMC roads have to be applied online.