Every year, as the city’s favourite festival nears, Ganpati mandals face one recurring predicament — steering their beloved Lord safely through pothole-riddled roads without accident. Nothing has changed this time.
Four days of heavy rain has drastically increased potholed stretches. Alarmed at the rate of which craters are surfacing, members of Ganesh mandals and Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvaya Samiti (BSGSS) are upset that their earlier request to BMC to fill potholes went unheeded.
With 18 days remaining for the 10-day festival, many sarvajanik mandals preparing to take delivery of idols fear the worst. “We are really upset with the corporation, as it has not lived up to its promise of fixing the potholes before the festival,” said BSGSS president Naresh Dahibavkar. “We even requested local corporators to look into the matter. But with just a few days remaining for the Lord to arrive, we are sceptical whether they would repair the potholes within the deadline.”
Many idols are due for delivery by September 2 and with only two days left, chances of the pothole problem getting resolved are slim. Of the nearly 10,000 Ganpati mandals dotting the city, more than 75 per cent Ganpatis are ferried from sculptors’ workshops and are not crafted at the pandals. Hence, it is essential that the roads are in good shape at this time.
Last month, BMC had asked all mandals to provide it with photographs of potholes affecting their journey. The latter complied, but the cracks still exist.
Pandurang Sakpal, secretary of one of the more popular mandals in the city, Akhil Chandanwadi Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, said, “We personally visited the ward offices and requested the officials to fix the issue. But no real work has been done. We’ll ferry our idol to our pandal on Sunday, and these crevices would be a big nuisance.”
Ravi Surve, president of Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, said, “We received all sorts of promises from BMC, but unfortunately they remain unfulfilled. We only hope that whenever the work is done, it at least lasts till the immersion of the idol.”
The other side
Girdhari Agrawal, chief engineer of BMC’s roads department, said, “We’ll surely get the roads repaired before Ganeshotsav. We are repairing roads that most mandals will take on the arrival and immersion days. Potholes that have surfaced in the past few days because of heavy rainfall would also be fixed at the earliest.”