Pune police commissioner Gulabrao Pol on Tuesday made it clear that the dhol tasha troupes practising for Ganeshotsav should not violate the direction for maximum decibel levels fixed by the Supreme Court.
Pol’s announcement comes in the wake of several complaints about the trouble from the dhol playing practice going on by various troupes across the city. The police had even slapped notices against the practising troupes on Monday warning them against disturbing peace in the area.
The representatives of the troupes’ association met Pol on Monday afternoon, but the meeting failed to break the ice as Pol was firm on his stand. Pol, however, appointed a committee comprising deputy commissioner (Zone I) Makarand Ranade, social activist Rohit Tilak, MNS corporator Rupali Patil, lawyer Pratrap Pardeshi and some representatives of dhol artistes, to discuss the issue.
The troupes had been conducting rehearsals en masse on the land along the stretch between Mhatre Bridge and Rajaram Bridge, some marriage halls and lawns in Warje Malwadi, and also in Pimpri Chinchwad areas.
Addressing a press conference, Pol said that strictest action would be taken against the troupes if they continue playing drums that make loud noise. “Many citizens called me on my personal phone. I got calls from senior citizens, students and patients. All are complaining about ear deafening noise which is much above the permissible limit,” he said.
Pol said that non government organisations (NGO)’s, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Human Rights Commissions were also closely monitoring the developments related to the issue.
He further said that he did not intend to spoil the Ganesha celebrations, and was merely following the direction of the Supreme Court.
Social activist Rohit Tilak told the press that it was a festive occasion, so sending notices will not solve the problem as everyone is in the mood to enjoy.
“On Monday night, many troupes got notices to stop the ongoing dhol tasha practice. In the city we do not have any specific halls where the participants can practice. We met police commissioner to find out suitable conclusion. We have another meeting on Wednesday in this regard.”
Potholes gone, now it’s mandals’ turn to dig roads
After facing heavy criticism over pothole-ridden roads in all parts of the city, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) repaired most of the potholes. But now be prepared to fresh wounds on the same roads as Ganeshotsav mandal have started erecting pandals.
PMC authorities have been appealing to Ganesh mandals not to dig roads while erecting pandals as it damages the road.
However, dna found that not all the mandals are responding to the appeal positively. Roads are being dug near Shivaji statue in Kothrud Gavthan area for Ganesh pandal.
This monsoon, commuters across faced problems of potholes on most of the roads. The civic administration have faced a lot of criticism over bad quality of roads and opposition parties also carried out demonstrations against potholes-ridden roads. The civic administration had to take up the road repair work on war-footing and it spent nearly Rs4 crore on road repairs to fill most of the potholes.
Finally when most of the roads are nearly repaired, Ganesh mandals have started digging the roads, which will again damage them.
However, the municipal authorities want to go soft on the mandals as the authorities feel that it may lead to tension. Pramod Nirbhavane, head of PMC’s road department said, “We have been appealing to all mandals not to dig roads as it will damage roads. However, we are avoiding any strict action against mandals as the mandal workers are sensitive about their pandals.”
‘Promote national integrity, peace through fest’
Pune commissioner of police Gulabrao Pol has appealed to all Ganeshotsav mandals not to present a decoration, which will lead to communal tension. Pol also appealed that the Mandals should use the platform of Ganesh festival to promote national integrity.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Tuesday organised a meeting of PMC officials, police officials and mandal representatives to discuss peaceful celebration of the festival, which comes next month.
In the meeting, Pol said that the mandals should be more responsible while decorating pandals. The decorations should not lead to any communal tension. “In fact while the country is witnessing problems from anti-social elements, the mandals should use the platform of festival to spread a message of national integrity and peace,” he said.
Deputy commissioner of police (Zone I) Makarand Ranade presented a proposal of reducing number of dhol pathaks in order to reduce the procession time on the last day of the festival.
“Mandals include a number of dhol troupes in their procession which lead to delay in the processions as the number of people also increase with the number of troupes. We have, therefore, submitted a proposal that each mandal should not have more than two dhol troupes in their procession. This will not only reduce the procession time, but also help in maintaining law and order,” Ranade said.
Traffic department officers, police commissioner to meet today
Pune city traffic police department will conduct a meeting with the commissioner of police Gulabrao Pol on Wednesday to review the preparedness for Ganesh festival begins.
The traffic department will discuss the shortcomings which created trouble last year to ensure that they are not repeated. Deputy commissioner of police (DCP), traffic, Vishwas Pandhare has called all the traffic police inspectors at the meeting so that they can discuss issues specific to their areas.
The DCP traffic has meanwhile urged the Ganeshotsav mandals in the city to be alert and ensure that any untoward incident can be averted if each mandal takes on itself to make the festival safe and peaceful.
Speaking to dna, Pandhare says, “There are more than 5,000 Ganpati mandalas in the city and it is impossible to provide security to each one of them. We take strict measures around the important mandals where we do not allow traffic near the mandals. Other mandals should ensure that vehicles are be parked near pandals, there is proper queue management and security cameras that can monitor suspicious movements.”
Pandhare adds that if each mandal in the city can take this simple precautions, then not only the area will be safe, but the issue of traffic chaos will also be solved.
“As there will be no parking near the mandal, there will be less rush and less chances of traffic jams,” he says.