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Police beef up security as Ganesh festival begins tomorrow

Mumbai, Sep 8, 2013 (PTI) 11:48 IST
An artisan walks past the idols of Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, kept inside a workshop in Mumbai September 3, 2013. The idols will be paraded through the streets in a procession during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, accompanied by dancing and singing. They will then be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual send-off of Ganesh's journey towards his abode in 'Kailash', while taking away with him the misfortunes of all mankind. The festival will be celebrated on September 9. REUTERS
In view of intelligence inputs of possible terror strikes, Mumbai Police has drawn an extensive security plan to maintain a hawk-eyed vigil for the Ganesh festival beginning tomorrow.

Police have also started an initiative - "Mumbai Ke Liye 1 Minute" - which appeals citizens to take out one minute to look around if they spot a suspicious person, object or vehicle and call on helpline number 100 or 022-22633333.

"We have prepared a tight security plan but it will be more effective with the support of the public, who need to keep their eyes and ears open," Joint Police Commissioner (Law & Order) Sadanand Date said today.

Last month, the police had also distributed manuals among 6,000 Ganesh pandal organisers listing details of security measures and traffic arrangements during the festival, telephone numbers of various agencies, senior police officials and disaster control rooms.

Special security arrangements have been made for 'Lalbaugcha Raja' Ganesha idol, one of the most popular mandals attracting about 1-1.50 lakh devotees daily, he said.

Nearly 100 police officers, about 1,000 security personnel and three paramilitary contingents will be specially deployed for the security of Lalbaugcha Raja.

Though Date claimed that there were no specific intelligence inputs on possible terror attack, another official stated, "Whatever inputs we have are serious in nature and cannot be ignored. Terror threat is looming large on the metropolis."

Over 6,000 Ganesh pandals have been erected in public places while more than one lakh Ganesh idols are instituted in households during the festival.

Besides 42,000 strong Mumbai Police, contingents of Quick Response Teams, Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, State Reserve Police Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force and Border Security Force will be on duty.

About 100 police officers and 2,800 policemen from other parts of Maharashtra have been shifted to Mumbai for the purpose of security during the festival.

Nearly 2,500 home guards, 500 civil guards, 900 volunteers from NSS and 400 NCC men will be deployed across the city. About 37 watch towers will be installed to keep a watch on public movement at the beaches and on roads.

Also, about 400 divers would be deployed at sea shores on the big idols immersion day.
Police have identified 200 spots as more crowded while 52 locations were described as sensitive, where police presence would be there all the time.

The leaves of all policemen have been cancelled in view of the festival.

The government has also relaxed anti-noise pollution restrictions for four days by allowing loud speakers to function till midnight on September 13, 14, 17 and 18, which is the last day of the Ganesh idol immersion.

After 10 pm, loud speakers with deafening music violating the specified decibel limits are usually not permitted.

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