It’s that time of the year again. While the city awaits the elephant god, the pandals are ready to roll the celebrations out after insuring the Ganesh idols. The two most famous pandals in the city -- The Goud Saraswat Brahmin Ganeshotsav (GSB) mandal at King Circle and the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshotsav mandal — have crossed the Rs 50 crore mark, while the others have stuck to the amounts decided on last year. The GSB Ganeshotsav mandal, which will be home to the richest idol — worth Rs 21.6 crore with 80 kg of gold apart from the jewellery --has insured its pandal for Rs 223 crore. The amount is Rs 1 crore less compared to last year but the pandal maintained that the security of the devotees and volunteers is important, and insured them for a whopping Rs 182 crore. Each devotee, volunteer and guard are insured at Rs 10 lakh per person.
The GSB Ganeshotsav mandal has insured its mandal for all the risks like fire, theft, external damage and terrorist attack for Rs 20 crore, Rs 20 crores is public liability, and Rone crore has been reserved for other perils and fire, if it breaks out in the pandal. The mandal places the idol only for five days and has arranged for more security personnel this year as compared to last year. Lady police officers will be stationed at the pandal, too. The Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshotsav mandal has insured the pandal for Rs 51 crore, out of which Rs 20 crore insurance is reserved for the city on the day of the immersion. Last year, the Lalbaugcha Raja was insured for Rs 45 crore and devotees, volunteers and other members were insured for Rs 25 crore. The mandal has insured the deity’s jewellery for Rs 7.5 crore as compared to Rs 7 crore last year. Third party liability has been covered for Rs 10 crore, which is the same as last year. The basic cover of theft, fire, and attacks or loss to the pandal or to the idol is Rs 3.5 crore, instead of Rs 3 crore.
Satish Nayak, trustee
and spokesperson, GSB Ganeshotsav mandal, said, “The well-being of our devotees is important to us. In case of an untoward incident, individuals will be given Rs 10 lakh each and we will provide treatment for any injured person during the five days of the festival.” Ashok Pawar, president of Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganehsotsav mandal, said, “This year, we have increased the insurance amount, mainly for the devotees, because we expect more people to come to the pandal this year.” Other mandals, such as the Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav mandal, Ganesh Galli and Andhericha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav mandal, have insured their idols at Rs 5 crore and Rs 3 crore respectively, as the insurance companies are yet to declare their packages. Sources at the Ganesh Galli mandal claimed that the amount might be increased by Rs 50 lakh or Rs one crore, if at all.