With the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic still looming, Ganesh Mandals and idol makers across the city are a confused lot in the absence of SoP and clarity over the celebration of the festival this year. The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), an umbrella body of sarvajanik (Public) Ganesh Mandals in the city has written the state government to frame/issue guidelines at the earliest for giving enough time for Mandals and idol makers to make preparations as per guidelines.
Two weeks back the Ganesh Mandals had to urge the civic body to bring in clarity on permission for setting up workshops for idol makers. The idol makers usually start setting up their workshop and making idols by the end of May or latest by the first week of June. However, in the absence of permission, they were helpless. Last week the idol makers managed to acquire permission from the BMC to set up workshops. However, in absence of guidelines over the height of idols and other SoP for the celebration of the festival has left them worried.
"BMC started permitting to set up pandals as workshops for making idols was given last week, however in the absence of SoP this year, Idol makers cannot start their work. Last year the civic body issued the guideline very later, it created chaos as many idols were ready by that time. Bigger mandals decided to make the idols in the mandaps themselves to avoid grand Aagman Sohla (traditional ritual to welcome the deity)," said Naresh Dahibavkar, head of Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS).
"The civic body and state government capped the size of idols - four feet for mandals and two feet for household Ganpati dols. This year there has been no guideline. Mandals are not sure whether they must follow the rules from last year or wait for the fresh SoP to be released. We have requested the state government to issues fresh guideline as earliest as possible and help us," he added. There are a total of 13,000 sarvajanik mandals in the city, of which 3,070 mandals are bigger ones.
This year, the 10-day long festival - Ganesh Chaturthi will begin on September 10.
"Last year the SoP was issued very later, leading to chaos. The issue has become more chaotic as the officer from BMC Anand Waghralkar who coordinator with us (Ganesh Mandals) has retired last year and no new officer has been appointed in his place. We have no idea who is the new coordinator now. In such a scenario," Dahibavkar said.