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200 skilled eyesto look out for troublemakers

Umbrella body of Ganpati mandals hire men skilled in providing security cover, who will stand guard at Girgaum Chowpatty during visarjan

The attack on the country's judiciary in the capital has the religious in the city on their guard.

After the Delhi high court blast that killed 11, the Brihanmumbai Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BGSS), an umbrella body comprising all Ganpati mandals in the city, has hired the services of nearly 200 men with an eye to single out troublemakers during the immersion ceremony at Girgaum Chowpatty.

A police official surveys the immersion spot at Dadar Chowpatty and police officials stand guard at Lalbaugcha Raja, where the security has been stepped up


Dressed in civilian clothing, they would be an aid to the police in providing an additional security cover to the devotees, mandal workers said.

Girish Walawalkar, secretary for the BGSS, said, "The 200 men would be posted at the Chowpatty. These men are experts skilled in security and come from different parts of the country.
 
Many of them have received training in foreign countries. They have the expertise of identify mischief-mongers, and can handle an untoward situation in the crowd."

Walawalkar continued, "We have positioned mandal workers in the inner circle of the pandal, the police cover forms the outer layer."

Explaining that they had been extra-cautious with the inner circle, he said, "Near the stage, every mandal has 10-15 workers, whose prime responsibility is to mix with the crowd, keep an eye on people and act the moment they spot anything suspicious."

The mandal doesn't want to take a chance with the lives of lakhs of devotees that will assemble for the visarjan.
 
"Nearly 50 lakh devotees come during visarjan, which makes the setting a soft target for anti-social elements," said Walawalkar.

Precautions have also been taken for the procession before the immersion.

Suresh Mathur, joint secretary of Khetwadi 12th lane mandal said, "We are going to form a boundary wall of security guards around the mass of devotees, to keep unidentified people out. We are ready."

Other mandals have increased the security with the help of their workers. "We have nearly 50 people to stand guard inside the mandal during daytime, and 150 in the night to keep a vigil," said a prominent mandal's functionary.

'Loose cables thwart idols'
With the 10th-day Ganesh immersion approaching this Sunday, mandals are worried that, other than the potholes, loose wires pose a threat to their tall idols during the immersion procession.

Anand Bedekar, member Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, said, "The collector has issued an order asking the concerned departments to tighten dangling cable wires.
 
But the work is not yet done. I have now complained to the nearest police stations asking for immediate attention as visarjan day is just around the corner."

Prakash T Kanvaje, vice president of Girgaum ka Raja said, "We have a 22-ft idol and it weighs three-and-a-half tonnes. We are worried that sagging wires will delay the immersion process. We will keep long sticks to get them out of t he way."

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