Mumbai News: Dahi Handi Festival Body Faces Rift Amid Transparency Concerns

Mumbai News: Dahi Handi Festival Body Faces Rift Amid Transparency Concerns

Ex-members form new associations, claim that those in power ruled arbitrarily and went to Spain for “study trips”, no annual general meeting had been held since formation

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Friday, August 18, 2023, 11:04 PM IST
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Dahi Handi | representative pic

Mumbai: The Dahi Handi Utsav Samanway Samiti (DUSS), responsible for matters related to Govinda Pathak during the Dahi Handifestival, is facing internal discord. Groups have been formed, with some alleging that those in office have been running the Samiti as per their whims, often visiting Spain on "study trips" without sharing knowledge post-arrival, lack of any meeting and audit of accounts, and neglecting to distribute membership forms and promote committee growth.

Calls for greater transparency

The split dates back to October last year, driven by calls for greater transparency. “Ever since they registered the Samiti with the Charity Commission, they have not even conducted an audit, which is mandatory. It is 'hum kare so kayda' (what we do is the law) approach with which certain people are running the show,” said Kamlesh Bhoir, a former DUSS office-bearer. He also added that since the formation of the Samiti, no annual general meeting had been held and they have not been shown accounts for the government funds given to them last year. Bhoir and others have consequently established the Dahi Handi Govinda Mandal Association. DUSS officials, including Bala Padelkar, the president of DUSS, women's wing head and advisor, frequently visited Spain for study tours, but never shared knowledge they gathered after returning. “It was always the same set of people who went to Spain. There were family members accompanying but others did not get a chance to go there,” said Arun Patil, the coach of Tadwadi Govinda Pathak, who have held records for tallest Govinda Pathaks and have decided to break away and form another association.

An advisor of the Samiti, Abhishek Surve, denied the allegations upon contacting. “We do not agree to any of the allegations they have made against us. With respect to the audit, there is some delay but it is happening. Covid had also delayed things. We do not oppose if anyone else wants to form a new Samiti or association and are happy if there are more than one associations. Every sport has more than one association, be it hockey or football. With respect to foreign tours, it is wrong that the same people went. One person responsible for forming another association was part of the group that went to Spain. If invites are exclusive, naturally some will be left out. It is also wrong to say that we got funds from the government.” 

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