Maharashtra notifies protocol for public Ganesh Chaturthi festivities

Some regulations, including restrictions on height of idol, irk mandal organising committees

The Maharashtra Home Department’s notification restricting the height of Ganesh idols inside public Ganesh mandals at 4 feet for this year’s festival has irked the umbrella organisation of public mandals in the State, who said that the decision was taken without consulting them.

The notification issued on Tuesday said that the height of public Ganesh idols would be 4 ft. while that of private idols will be restricted at 2 ft. It clarified that the pandals can be set up only in coordination with COVID-19 guidelines laid down by the local civic body. Appealing to public mandals to avoid overcrowding for darshan, the notification advised that online darshan may be facilitated via cable networks, websites and Facebook.

The notification has also prohibited processions on Ganesh Chaturthi as well as on the visarjan (immersion) day. It advised that the last traditional puja be conducted at home instead of at the place of immersion. Also, artificial ponds may be set up in collaboration with Municipal Corporations, public mandals, housing societies, elected representatives and voluntary organisations.

Several guidelines have, however, irked the public Ganesh mandals. “The Maharashtra government annually holds a meeting with us before announcing the guidelines, which has ensured that the festival is celebrated smoothly and without any enmity. But despite our repeated representations and also on behalf of sculptors, we were not called for any meeting this time,” said Naresh Dahibavkar, president, Public Ganesh Festival Mandals Coordination Committee, Mumbai.

Mr. Dahibavkar said that the restriction on the height at public mandals should be reconsidered, and also that the festival be celebrated in a bio-bubble with vaccinated volunteers.

“We request a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss our issues. Decisions taken in those meetings will be accepted by all,” he said.

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