The Lalbaug Sarvajanik Ganeshostav mandal has once again planned to change its entry and exit points, with an aim to streamline the flow of devotees coming for darshan this year.
The devotees in the common line, who walk for almost four kilometres before they get a chance for darshan, may have to wait longer to exit. File pic
Instead of exiting from Chivda Galli, devotees in the VIP mannat line will now have to go out from the same point as the common line from the opposite side, crossing the stage, instead of a separate exit point that was allowed last year.
Members of the mandal claim that the change of exit point has been decided as they expect more leaders from political parties to visit the mandal this year, ahead of the assembly elections.
Devotees standing in the common line however can expect to suffer as priority would be given to VIPs over them while exiting from the pandal. Last year, devotees in the navas or mannat line had to take a U-turn and exit from MHADA grounds through which they had entered, which would also be the exit route for VIPs this year.
Last year, the flow of devotees got much faster; the 24-hour wait till 2012 came down to maximum eight hours in 2013, and the mandal is expecting the same this year as well. While the new exit arrangement might encourage VIPs to come in larger numbers, devotees in the common mannat line who have to walk four kilometers before they get a chance for darshan, may have to wait longer before they can exit.
In the last two years, the mandal has been trying various means to ensure continuous movement of the queue during the 11 days of darshan. In 2012, they changed the arrangement by placing the idol on a small stage and only allowing devotees to touch its feet and exit from the pandal.
Last year, they experimented with the exit points of the VIP and common mannat lines, asking devotees to move out from Chivda Galli and MHADA ground respectively. Now however, with a common point of exit, the chaos in front of the idol is only expected to increase.
“We decided to change the arrangement mainly to reduce the chaos at the entrance for VIPs, which was close to the exit point last year. As we don’t expect a constant flow of VIPs, the common line should not get affected much,” informed a member of the mandal, on the condition of anonymity.
“With upcoming assembly elections, we expect more VIPs to visit this year, and therefore, we’ve planned a common exit. Our aim is to reduce the number of hours devotees have to stand in queue,” said Sudhir Salvi, secretary of the mandal.