25% drop in sponsorship at Ganesh Mandals as economic slowdown hits the Gods
PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP

This Ganeshotsav, small mandals in Mumbai city are witnessing a 25% decrease in sponsorships from companies because of economic slowdown. On the other hand, big mandals see no major effect of the slowdown.

Mumbai’s mandals are divided into four categories depending on their location and the capacity of attracting devotees. This defines how much a mandal can fetch in sponsorship. According to the Hindustan Times report, there are a total of 13,000 sarvajanik mandals in the city, of which 3,070 mandals are bigger mandals. The report also says, big mandals that attract huge devotees charge more than Rs. 1 lakh for advertisement for one gate.

Sandeep Parab, spokesperson for Chinchpoklicha Chintamani told Hindustan Times that Lalbaug receives advertisements worth Rs 10 lakh every year. This will reduce to anywhere between Rs. 7-8 lakh. Lalbaug is the hub for devotees during Ganesh Chaturthi.

Earlier, the big mandals had to approach just one company to fetch huge amount as one company sponsored all gates of the mandals. Now they have to approach various companies for sponsorships. “Earlier, if one company would sponsor five gates, now they sponsor only two. For the remaining, we might have to approach some other company,” told Subodh Chitnis, treasurer of Andhericha Raja to Hindustan Times.

According to the report, builders are not willing to sponsor the mandals this year because of the economic slowdown. Naresh Dahibhavkar, president of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), umbrella organisation of Ganpati mandals in the city, confirmed the 25% reduction in the sponsorship.

One of the affluent mandals Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Mandal, King’s Circle, receives 20% of its collected money from advertisement. Rest of the money comes from puja receipts, general donation and hundi collection. The report says that the mandals managed to accumulate Rs. 8.15 crore in 2016. “We had conducted 66,000 pujas last year. This year, the number might go up by another 6,000. We get only 20% of our total collection from advertisements,” told Satish Nayak, trustee of GSB to Hindusatn Times.

While mandals are trying hard to collect as much money as possible from advertisement and devotees, a Ganpati mandal in Kurla is cutting down its expenditure to donate some money for flood-affected areas. “Our costing for the entire festival is around Rs. 2 lakh. This year, some of the amount will be sent towards rehabilitation of the flood-affected. We will cut down on lighting and decoration and spend only Rs. 1.5 lakh,” told Vasant Mullik to Hindustan Times. The members of the mandals also contribute Rs. 2000 individually for the mandal expenditure every year.

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