Civic body says 4 lakh pits made during Ganeshotsav, mandals rubbish claim

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 - 9:24am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The BMC has said the bamboo barricading done by city mandals caused 4 lakh trenches during this year’s Ganeshotsav. The BMC calculated the figures based on permissions sought by mandals for erecting bamboos for mandaps and hoisting advertisements. A majority of the trenches were reported from roads, footpaths and medians in island city and western suburbs, officials said.

Additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas said the mandals were informed about the figures during a meeting last Saturday at the BMC headquarters.

“Some mandals, such as the Lalbaugcha Raja, had dug around 1,000 holes to erect bamboos,” Srinivas added.

He said digging holes and filling them poorly after the festival has led to the deteriorating condition of roads. “If trenches are filled in an improper way, water percolates in lower strata of road, weakening it. As the festival is celebrated during monsoon, digging up roads on such a large scale, hence, becomes an issue,” he said.

If a mandal fails to fix the holes once the festival is over, the BMC does the job by charging the mandal concerned Rs2,000 per pit. Civic authorities, however, don’t plan to penalise mandals.

“Our intention is not to inflict fine on any mandal. We want to resolve the issue by ensuring mandals use drums to erect bamboos. While they can seek the opinion of structural engineers on how to erect mandap, they should use drums filled with either sand or debris,” Srinivas said.

BMC believes if mandals respond to their suggestion, it will be able to resolve 70% issues regarding trenches.

However, office-bearers of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samnvay Samiti, an umbrella of 11,400 small and major mandals in city, refuted the BMC’s figures on trenches. “The figures are untrue. They include holes dug for banners hoisted by politicos. It is not necessary that a mandal is associated with the politico concerned. So, we can’t trust these figures,” Naresh Dahibawkar, chief of the samiti, said.

Dahibawkar said the mandals fill all the holes dug as that is one of the conditions laid down before offering a mandap contract. “Contractors have to fill up the holes. Or else, we don’t pay them,” he added.

He said it is not feasible for mandals to use drums for hoisting advertisement banners. “In Mumbai, the size of mandaps is huge and drums used for erecting bamboos won’t be able to take the load of the set-up,” he added.

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