Bajirao Road Natubaug Mitra mandal has been erecting pandal without digging the road since the past 5 years - Aniruddha Rajandekar/DNA
In order to avert any untoward incident in view of security alert during the ten days of Ganeshotsav, the police department has beefed up security on the state national highway and Pune-Mumbai Expressway. The highway traffic police department have started a special patrolling team that will guard the highway 24X7 and conduct vehicle checking.
Vehicles are being checked at Khalapur and Urse toll plazas, highway authorities said, adding that the special security check would be carried till the end of Ganeshotsav. Superintendent of police (highway) Dilip Bhujbal said, “Suspicious vehicles will be checked at toll booths. We have also briefed respective police stations on the highway to keep a watch on suspicious movements and take other security measures as per orders.”
“As there will be more rush on the second, fifth, seventh and last day due to immersion of Ganpatis, we will have extra patrolling teams to ensure that the traffic flow is smooth. In case of vehicles’ breakdown, we will ensure that the cranes can arrive at the earliest and remove the vehicle so that there are no traffic jams in the areas,” Bhujbal further added.
The police said, they have put more people on the helpline numbers to keep a tab on the highway traffic. The aim would be to call the local police stations of the area and ensure that traffic jams and slow moving could be resolved, he said.
Commuters who will be traveling during the 10 days of Ganeshotsav, can call on the toll free numbers 9833498334/ 9867598675 and they can also log on to the highway traffic website http://www.highwaypolicems.in/ for real time information.
PMC readies for Ganeshotsav with cleanliness drive
As the city’s biggest festival Ganeshotsav starts on Monday, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has taken several measures on roads where processions will take place on the first day. Some of them are placing ‘nirmalya kalash’ at various places where flowers and garlands on the idols can be collected, cleaning up 17 ghats for idols’ immersion, and installing of CCTV cameras. The civic body has deployed fire brigade staff at every ghat to deal with any emergency. The Fire Brigade officials too have appealed to all Ganesh mandals to keep two buckets of water, sand and one fire extinguisher in their pandals ready. With these preparations, they could prevent a major mishap in case there is a fire.
This season, it’s festivity with responsibility
Complaints about Ganesh Mandals digging up city roads to erect pandals are plenty, but a few mandals have decided to combine festivity with civic responsibility. From erecting mandals without digging up roads to erecting mandals on a height using stilts to allow smooth vehicular passage below, the mandals have stepped up their efforts to ensure their celebrations do not become cause for public hassle.
Probably the most innovative idea this year is building the pandal 12 feet above the ground which has been done by Budhwar Peth’s Honaji Tarun Mandal. Mandal chief Vijay Marathkar said going in for this idea has in fact reduced their operational costs. “The entire construction has been done strategically so that the traffic flow is not affected. The traffic can pass from below the pandal,” he said.
While there were many complaints from residents of different areas about roads being dug up fpr pandals, a few mandals have managed to set up pandals without damaging the streets.
Raviwar Peth’s Shri Shivanjali Mandal has built a large 24x30x30 feet pandal, which stretches from Govind Halwai Chowk to Kasturi Chowk. without digging up roads. “We are celebrating Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary and will display 45 life size portraits on the life of Vivekananda carrying his messages. We have put up the pandal with the support of boulders and walls. It took us around 10 days to get the final setup, but it is manageable,” said mandal president Namdev Malvade.
At Bajirao Road’s Natubaug Mandal, the process of setting up pandals without digging roads is being followed since six years. “It has been six years we construct such pendals using metal plates, nuts and bolts for support. We have made iron poles to support the pandals from all four sides and it does not require digging up roads,” said mandal vice-president Amit Kank.
Traffic diverted for first five days
The Pune city traffic police department has made special diversion plans to decongest roads during the first five days of Ganeshotsav.
Till September 13, Laxmi Road, Shivaji Road, Bajirao Road, Appa Balwant Chowk to Budhwar Chowk will be no parking zones and will also be closed for traffic. The roads may be opened depending on the traffic situation. Commuters can use alternative routes which are -- Jangli Maharaj Road, Alka Chowk, Tilak Road, Shastri Road. Commuters can also use the route from Shimla Office, Kamgar Putala Chowk to Swargate.
No parking has also been declared from Shivaji Road to Jijamata Chowk, Belaugh Chowk to Rameshwar Chowk, Mahatma Phule Mandai to Shanipar Chowk, Seva Sadan Chowk to Appa Balwant Chowk. More than 21,000 devotees will be conducting special prayers on Tuesday, September 10 from 5am, therefore, roads will be closed for regular traffic from Jijamata Chowk to Rameshwar Mandir, Appa Balwant Chowk to Budhwar Chowk and on Laxmi Road Vijay Maruti Chowk to Sonya Maruti Chowk.
People who want information regarding the traffic situation or have a complaint, can call on the traffic police department’s helpline number: 8888004455 and 26122000.