Millions prepare to bid adieu to Lord Ganesh in Mumbai

Millions prepare to bid adieu to Lord Ganesh in Mumbai

Huge idol of Lord Ganesha being taken by devotees through a busy throughfare for immersion in the Arabian sea in Mumbai on Thursday.

An estimated five million people are expected to witness the immersion ceremonies all over the city and suburbs, with the day - called Ananta Chaturdashi - having been declared a holiday by the Maharashtra government.

Mumbai Police, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, social organisations, political parties and public groups are overseeing the immersion that completes the festival, which began Aug 23 this year.

The MCGM has prepared 88 specific locations for immersion of Ganesh idols, the main being the Arabian Sea beaches at Chowpatty, Mahim, Prabhadevi, Juhu, Versova, and Marve.
In addition, there are several other immersion sites, including the Mithi river inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali, Aarey Milk Colony, several small lakes, ponds and wells.
Like last year, this year too the MCGM has created 17 artificial ponds for immersion of small Ganesh idols which will ease the pressure on the regular immersion sites.

The Indian Navy positioned relief teams at the seafronts in Malad, Ghatkopar, Mankhurd, Worli and Colaba. It has also provided two teams of naval divers at Chowpatty and Powai with the latest equipment.
The Coast Guard has deployed a high speed vessel and a helicopter off Mumbai to ward off any potential security threat during the immersion.
The MCGM has deployed 40,000 staffers to oversee the immersion arrangements, 56 motorboats at various locations, 500 lifeguards and 6,000 volunteers. Besides these, it has set up 60 first aid centres, one fleet of 52 ambulances and 12 mobile toilets, and 31 watch towers at the seafronts.
By afternoon, the immersion processions will start all over the city, which has been put under a security blanket with strict traffic norms for the day.
According to Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), more than 100,000 idols will be immersed all over Mumbai.
"From the 10,000-plus public associations (sarvajanik mandals), the idols shall range from the tallest - a 28-feet high idol of Lord Ganesh installed in Ganesh Gully in Lalbaug in central Mumbai, to the tiniest - a mere 3 feet tall idol installed by the Vikas Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal at Bhandup, northeast Mumbai," BSGSS vice-president N. Dahibhavkar said.
This year, there are 120 large Ganesh idols in different parts of Mumbai, a decline of around 20 percent over last year on account of security reasons, swine-flu and recession, he said.

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