About 70 per cent or approximately 1,000 vendors who are selling Ganesh idols in the city are acting illegally, as they don’t have the necessary permissions granted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), according to a civic official. The civic body has not issued any new permissions for the last eight years.
Every year, before Ganesh Chaturthi, pavements are encroached by vendors who sell Ganesh idols along with other decorative items that are hugely popular during the 10 days of festivities. However, BMC is worried that asking these illegal vendors to move might become a religious issue.
Authorised sellers are vendors who have been in the business for a long time and thus hold proper permissions.
Many of the illegal vendors purchase idols from Pen and sell it in the city, as people prefer buying readymade idols.
No new permissions were issued this year, jeopardising the prospects of genuine artists and sculptors who wanted to showcase their talent. Famous sculptor Vijay Khatu, who wanted to open another stall, was denied permission, despite applying for it more than two years ago.
Khatu said, “There are problems with the administration’s functioning as their rules are not feasible. I have my workshop at the railway ground for years but now I can’t think of shifting or expanding as the officers say that they are not in a position to give space and hence stopped issuing permissions eight years ago.”
The BMC’s ward officers receive over hundred applications every year that begin pouring in months before the festival. One of the officers from H West ward, Prashant Sapkale, said, “Permissions might be delayed but will be given.”