The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to engage personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the first time, along with the civil defence force, to strengthen security and safety on the beaches during the immersion of Ganesh idols during the festival.
The civic body will focus specially on Girgaum Chowpatty, which is the busiest and most crowded immersion location, where political bigshots, including the governor and chief minister, are also present on the occasion.
As part of the civic body’s plan to tighten the security along the coastline, 90 NDRF men and 300 civil defence men will be standing by. NDRF personnel are trained to undertake rescue operations in case of any untoward incident, whether it be a building collapse, landslide, tree crashes, drowning, or even chemical / biological / radiological / nuclear accidents. The corporation will also have the support of about 600 volunteers from various Ganesh mandals.
The BMC has also planned to set up a hotline for the first time between Girgaum Chowpatty and the civic headquarters at Fort.
A senior civic official said, “There was no accident at the Chowpatty last year. However, in view of the large number of idols immersed there and the huge number of mandal members, guests and devotees who gather at this site, we have decided to up the security.”
There are 72 immersions spots across the city and of these 27 are along the beaches at Girgaum, Dadar, Mahim, Juhu , Versova and Marve. According to the BMC, last year a total of 2,00,225 idols were immersed at these locations. The idols from household totalled 1,82,801 and 16,224 were from mandals.
The BMC has also decided to increase the number of artificial ponds for immersions from 22 last year to 27.