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In U-turn, BBMP to allow 5-day public celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthti

The BBMP has also withdrawn the blanket ban on idol immersion in lakes
Last Updated : 09 September 2021, 21:29 IST
Last Updated : 09 September 2021, 21:29 IST
Last Updated : 09 September 2021, 21:29 IST
Last Updated : 09 September 2021, 21:29 IST

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The backlash from pro-Hindu groups over stringent rules for the public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi has forced the BBMP to withdraw its version of guidelines for the festival and stick to the state government’s rules.

On Thursday, the civic body announced that it would allow the festivities over five days, as against the three-day period it had set earlier. “We had decided to restrict the festivities to three days on police advice. We have now asked the local police and BBMP officials to decide after reviewing the situation,” BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said. “The government’s order is supreme.”

The BBMP has also withdrawn the blanket ban on idol immersion in lakes. The idols can now be immersed in a select few lakes. “Following requests from Ganesh Utsava groups, we have decided to allow idol immersion in lakes where it’s customary,” said Randeep D, Special Commissioner (Health), BBMP.

While only one public Ganesh installation will be allowed per ward, temples and private religious institutions will be free to set up idols on premises as long as they enforce the Covid-appropriate behaviour. The civic body has also softened the condition on idol height.

The BBMP’s order on allowing only one public Ganesh installation per ward has been widely opposed. On Thursday, representatives of several Ganesh Utsava Mandals held a demonstration at the BBMP’s head office, ferrying in vehicle-mounted idols. While the BBMP top brass has left it to zonal and ward-level officials to decide who will get to set up public Ganesh installations in each ward, local staff aren’t sure of what rules to follow, resulting in disparities.

Officials in the West Zone are picking the trust or mandali with most supporters whereas their counterparts in Yelahanka and South zones are choosing the winners by lottery. An official from South Zone said: “We tried to persuade different groups to celebrate the festival at one place. But we couldn’t reach a consensus in a few cases and had to use the lottery system.”

In Bommanahalli, officials are reviewing the public places before choosing the winner. “We chose the organiser whose place of celebration would cause the least public disturbance or traffic congestion. We also considered the size because larger places would prevent the virus spread,” said M Ramakrishna, Joint Commissioner (Bommanahalli), BBMP.

The BBMP hasn’t received any application for public Ganesh installation from four wards in Bommanahalli and two in the West Zone ostensibly due to the curbs.

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Published 09 September 2021, 19:08 IST

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