City mandals are bracing up to ensure peaceful celebrations during the 10-day Ganpati festival. While some mandals have beefed up security and installed CCTV cameras, the cops are also leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the festivities pass without any hiccups. DNA gets you details...
Gulal is harmful if inhaled
For health reasons, one must avoid going to crowded places during these festive days. Especially senior citizens and infants must take extra precautions during Ganeshotsav. Due to the ongoing monsoon season, it is still wet and humid everywhere. For those who are suffering from fever, body ache, cough and cold or running nose, should not step out and remain at home. Preferably, people should cover their mouth and nose when they visit crowded places. There is still the risk of swine flu reappearing, so it is always safe to take preventive measures. During these festivities, stay away from high sound levels to avoid damage to ears, especially children. The gulal which is showered during the Ganesh festival is harmful if inhaled, especially for those who are suffering from bronchitis, asthma or breathing problems.
Dr Sunil Bhatti, ENT Surgeon
Security measures should be secretive
I don’t have any clue about what security measures the city police have taken internally. But as of now, it seems the usual drill, what they do every year. I find the mandal workers more proactive than the police in taking safety and security measures during the festive days. As a pointer, the CCTV camera installed near Bal Gandharva Rangmandir, strangely has a board near it stating that you are under surveillance. It means you are cautioning the terrorist, when the arrangements made must be covert. I think the security measures of the police should be secretive.
Vijay Kumbhar, Civic Activist
Beefing up security is a continuous process
As for the security measures by police during the festival days, I don’t think much can be done if they chalk out a plan few days before the festivities begin. The need to beef up security measures is a continuous process, which needs to be planned well in advance.
I had suggested earlier that during the Ganesh festival, a team of 10-12 policemen must be appointed for a bandobast sector comprising 3-4 prominent Ganpati mandal areas. Every 2 hours, two police officials should be patrolling the area while other team members should be present at a makeshift operation office of the bandobast sector. In case of urgency, the two police officials can alert others at the office to be on the spot. It is always better for cops to work as a team in a given area.
Suresh Khopde, Retired Special Inspector General of Police
Cops will be patrolling areas in plain clothes
This time, the number of mandals have gone up compared to last year. With a total strength of 8,500 city police officers and 5,000 student volunteers, the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and home guards are prepared to tackle any situation. Most of our cops will either be in uniform or plain clothes patrolling to avoid any undue incident. We had various meetings at each police station level as well as with the Ganpati mandals. We have given directives to mandals to arrange and install CCTV cameras. Also, music systems will be allowed only till 10 pm. However, on the fifth, sixth and last day, we have given permission to mandals to play music till midnight. Recently, FTII students made a film on bomb alertness which we have requested the mandals to showcase every day so that citizens can learn from it. If you notice any unattended article or suspected person, immediately inform the police control room on 100, 26122880, 26126296 or contact the nearest police station.
Rajendra Mane, Deputy Commissioner of Police (special branch)
We have identified 18 spots for parking
The rush of devotees will increase from September 22, therefore, the vehicular traffic in downtown Pune will be closed from that day onwards. We have identified 18 spots where people can park their vehicles. We have also held a meeting with the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) officials asking them to cooperate with the traffic police and not to send buses on the route where traffic will be jammed.
Vishwas Pandhare DCP (Traffic)
We have taken Rs50 cr insurance cover
To ensure safety and security of the general public during the 10-day Pune Ganesh Festival, this year we have taken various measures. For the safety of devotees who flock the areas around the Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, we have installed railings so that the crowd can move with ease in a line and avoid stampede. This year, for the first time, we have taken a Rs50 crore insurance cover for the visiting public from PMC and PCMC areas for these 10 days. In case of any terrorist attack, Rs5 lakh will be given to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs2.5 lakh in case of serious injury to any of the organs.
As a security measure, we have also fixed 120 cameras at specific points in and around the area of the Ganpati mandal for vigilance. We have appointed 150 guards to keep a watch on suspicious activities and objects across the area. The 10-day festival is for the people and by the people of Pune so everyone, including the shopkeepers, need to be extra cautious during the festive moments.
Mahesh Suryavanshi, Treasurer, Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Trust