A portion of the 25-ft-idol of Kalbadevi’s Shiv Shakti Balmitra mandal collapsed on Lamington Road; while cops said there may have been a problem with the way the idol was made, the sculptor blamed potholes and the civic body
Despite the mandals’ persistent demands, potholes were not repaired in time for Ganeshotsav, and they have managed to claim their first casualty this festive season.
Kolbhat Lanecha Raja
A portion of the 25-foot Ganesh idol for Shiv Shakti Balmitra mandal (Kolbhat Lanecha Raja) collapsed on Wednesday night near D B Marg police station in South Mumbai. The idol had Lord Shiva holding up Lord Ganesh, and the portion depicting the elephant god collapsed in transit.
The idol had to pass through Saat Rasta, which is riddled with potholes
While the mandal chose to stay mum on the issue and the police said there must have been a problem with the way the idol was made, its sculptor, Vijay Khatu, laid the blame squarely on the BMC’s reluctance to repair potholes despite knowing the danger they pose to Ganesh idols.
The new idol that was made in 16 hours. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari
The idol, which had Lord Ganesh supported in mid-air by an iron-and-steel framework linking it to the Lord Shiva portion, left Khatu’s Chinchpokli workshop on Wednesday night and crossed about 42 potholes, including uneven patches, before part of it collapsed on Lamington Road around 11.30 pm.
Khatu said, “There was no problem with the way the idol was made. It must have collapsed because of the potholes on the road, as the BMC has not taken any steps to repair them in time for Ganeshotsav.” Police officers, who claim to have seen the idol in transit, however, said the Lord Ganesh portion of the idol was swaying and had collapsed on its own. The 53-year-old mandal, which has been been associated with Khatu for a long time, refused to comment on the pothole issue, saying they did not want to create any controversy.
While members of the mandal rushed to the site of the collapse immediately and immersed the idol off Girgaum Chowpatty, they will still be taking Ganpati Bappa home with the same fervour as Khatu readied another 12.5-foot idol for them in barely 16 hours. “We started around 1 am on Thursday and the idol was ready by 5 pm. Members of the mandal also stayed up with me the whole night and said they would make sure Bappa reaches home safely,” said the sculptor.
The size of the mandal’s new Ganpati idol
Inspector (Law and Order) Sardar Patil said, “The unfortunate accident took place near the police station but no case of any sort was filed as members of the mandal did not want to blame anyone. Sculptors and mandals should take extra care while taking home such delicate idols.”
The other side
Additional Municipal Commissioner S V R Srinivas said, “I am not aware of any such incident and will have to check with the ward office, but 80 per cent of the potholes that were reported by the association of Ganesh mandals have been taken up on priority basis and have been repaired already.”