As the city prepares to bid farewell to its beloved deity, Lord Ganesha, today, both the Pune Police and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) have made comprehensive arrangements to ensure a seamless and secure immersion process.
With the expectation of lakhs of devotees thronging the immersion ghats for visarjan, a security blanket has been cast over the city by the police, while the PMC has diligently completed all preparations for a successful culmination of the festival.
In anticipation of the Ganesh festival, 15 regional offices under the PMC's jurisdiction have taken measures to uphold public cleanliness within their respective areas. These initiatives include road cleaning, group sweeping, waste collection, pesticide spraying, and the management of fire brigade personnel at immersion ghats.
Additional provisions encompass medicated spraying at riverbanks and ghats, installation of immersion tanks in areas lacking natural water bodies, and iron cages for immersion. Furthermore, provisions have been made for lifeguards, safety equipment, electrical generators, sound systems, water and waste management vehicles, and standby staff for swift repairs. Sound and lighting systems have also been meticulously arranged, alongside public hygiene facilities, toilet cleanliness, mobile toilets, and information boards.
Avoid immersing idols in natural water bodies: PMC
The PMC has also urged all citizens to avoid immersing idols in natural water bodies and to consider alternative methods. In pursuit of this objective, artificial immersion tanks and environmentally friendly mobile immersion tanks have been made available across various parts of the city for idol immersion.
To facilitate Ganesh idol immersion, an average of 10 such mobile tanks has been provided under the purview of 15 regional offices, totaling 150 environmentally friendly mobile immersion tanks.
In a bid to discourage idol immersion in natural water bodies, PMC has introduced artificial and eco-friendly mobile immersion tanks across various locations in the city, comprising a total of 619 immersion points, including 568 steel containers and 252 centers for idol donation. These initiatives aim to promote environmentally conscious celebrations.
9,000 police personnel deployed for security
In terms of security, approximately 9,000 police personnel will be strategically deployed throughout the city for the entire duration of the Ganesha immersion process. This security effort includes the presence of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) and Quick Response Teams (QRT). Plainclothes male and female officers will also discreetly monitor the crowds, particularly focusing on issues related to eve-teasing and chain-snatching.
Additionally, 950 Home Guards, two companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), the Rapid Action Force (RAF), and Striking Force teams will be available to enhance security. Critical procession routes used by Ganesh mandals will be thoroughly sanitized by the BDDS. These routes are equipped with CCTV surveillance systems, and authorities have established control rooms and emergency help centers along them.
To streamline emergency services, dedicated routes have been designated for ambulances. Pune City Police Commissioner Ritesh Kumar and Joint Commissioner of Police Sandeep Karnik have meticulously devised a comprehensive security plan for Ganeshotsav 2023, prioritizing the creation of a peaceful and joyous experience for all Ganesh devotees.
The immersion processions will be led by five prominent Ganesh mandals, including Kasba Ganpati Mandal, Tambdi Jogeshwari Mandal, Guruji Talim Mandal, Tulshibaug Mandal, and Kesri Wada Mandal. Other renowned mandals like Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Mandal, Bhau Rangari Ganesh Mandal, and Akhil Mandai Ganesh Mandal will also participate in the idol immersion.
Security measures encompass a variety of specialized teams, including multiple quick response teams, riot control vehicles, bomb detection and disposal squads, dog squads, and anti-chain-snatching teams. The traffic control branch will also be fully staffed to manage traffic and processions, with several roads in the central part of Pune either temporarily closed or subject to traffic diversions.
Ambulances and fire tenders will be strategically stationed across the city, and watchtowers have been erected at critical locations to enhance surveillance. Similar security measures have been implemented in the neighboring areas of Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune Rural to ensure a safe and peaceful Ganesh Visarjan ceremony.
Procession to conclude earlier this year?
This year, nearly 3,865 Ganesha pandals and 615,247 household idols have been registered. Typically, the procession in the city lasts for over 20 hours. In 2022, the ceremonial Ganesh immersion, a highlight of the 10-day festival, was completed in a record 29 hours. This duration marked the longest immersion process since 2014, with large crowds gathering on the streets after a two-year hiatus to bid farewell to the elephant god.
This year, in a departure from its long-standing tradition, the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati of Pune will be participating in the immersion procession on Lakshmi Road at the early hour of 4 PM this year. This change comes in response to the growing delays in the departure of the procession in recent years.
Historically, the iconic Dagdusheth Ganapati has been a central attraction in Pune's Ganesh Visarjan procession, which takes place at night.