Matunga resident Ratna Vora, 24, shudders at the prospect of travelling by road during Ganpati. The physiotherapist spends over 90 minutes to reach her office at Breach Candy by bus during the festival, 45 minutes more than usual.
Diversions and traffic jams along the Ambedkar Road and Kidwai Road where prominent mandals like GSB, Lalbaug, Ganesh Gulli Ganpatis attract massive crowds means there is no respite from the bumper-to-bumper traffic.
“The problem is that the roads are reduced to half their width. There is chaos with too many people and little order on roads. Besides, women have to encounter eve-teasing during such festivals,” Vora told dna. Her fears are not unfounded.
Recently, Zee 24 Taas exposed incidents of devotees being pushed at the Lalbaugcha Raja Mandal. Home minister RR Patil says the state will warn the mandal that such incidents will not be tolerated, but that is unlikely to soothe frayed nerves.
The activities leading up to Ganesh Chaturthi and during the festival, such as the collection of funds, Bollywood songs blaring from the speakers, traffic mismanagement, drinking and eve-teasing have made it a chaotic affair. “The problem starts from the word go these days.
Organisers come to collect funds and they demand money as per your business,” said Gaurang Vora, who runs a clinic and a shop in Sion. “The collection business is literally harassment. Also, nobody knows where the money goes.”
Meant to unite everyone, the festival has now become an eyesore for the common man. “Though people come together, there is nothing desirable that they do during the festival. There is loud Bollywood music blaring instead of bhajans or kirtans. The kind of dancing that goes on in front of the Lord’s idol is not appropriate.
The festival can be made attractive if people do things which are associated with the festival,” said Ashok Rawat, resident of Shivaji Park. “You do not need control, but regulation is required. People who take part in the festivities should understand that those who are not celebrating it should not be inconvenienced,” Rawat added.
The traffic police assured that all precautionary measures have been taken.
Besides, additional force has been deployed to ensure smooth traffic movement. “There are around 2,000 traffic policemen on the roads for all the 10 days. All traffic junctions and important arterial roads are manned round-the-clock.
Traffic has been running smoothly during the first eight days of the festival, including the visarjan days, and all efforts are being taken to ensure a smooth traffic flow during the final visarjan day,” said a senior traffic police official.
The Mumbai police said all adequate measures are being taken in the run up to the visarjan on Wednesday.
“Adequate number of policemen have been deployed on the roads to ensure the streets are safe. Bandobast is heavy and will be beefed up further in the coming days as crowd is expected to rise.
Additional forces like Quick Response Team and State Reserve Police Force have also been roped in for bandobast duty. All efforts will be taken to ensure that the festival ends peacefully and that no law and order problem arises.
The policemen will also ensure that no eve-teasing incident takes place,” said deputy commissioner of police, Zone II, Nisar Tamboli, under whose jurisdiction the maximum number of Ganpati idols will be immersed at Girgaum Chowpatty.