Mumbai festival: Height no barrier for Ganesha this year

Updated: Jul 11, 2019, 08:48 IST | Chetna Sadadekar | Mumbai

As tall idols would be unable to go past barriers planned to stop heavy vehicles on weak bridges at Currey Road and Chinchpokli, authorities have postponed decision to after festival

The Chinchpokli bridge that will be closed to vehicles weighing more than 16 tonnes. Pic /Ashish Raje
The Chinchpokli bridge that will be closed to vehicles weighing more than 16 tonnes. Pic /Ashish Raje

Even as the civic administration was mulling the installation of height barriers to prevent vehicles weighing above 16 tonnes from using the weak Currey Road and Chinchpokli bridges, Ganesh mandals in the area got wind of it. Considering that Ganeshotsav is only seven weeks away, they immediately met Guardian Minister Subhash Desai and representatives of government agencies on Monday asking for the decision to be reconsidered as Ganesh idols would then not be able to move past the barriers. There are 100 to 150 Ganesh mandals and sculptors in the area and people would need to use the bridge to ferry the idols home or to pandals. The decision has now been put on hold till after the festival. For now, only boards will be put up to prevent heavy vehicles from plying on the weak bridges.

While local leaders have said vehicles such as tempos and buses should not be banned during Ganeshotsav, Ganesh mandals said the weight of their idols was barely a maximum of 1 to 1.5 tonnes and hence the decision to ban vehicles weighing 16 tonnes and more would not affect the festivities, but the height barriers would.

IIT-B report on bridges

While the Railways had informed the BMC and traffic department about the inspection report of IIT Bombay that the three bridges — Arthur Road Bridge at Chinchpokli, Currey Road Bridge and Byculla Road Bridge (Gardens' Bridge) — were in poor state, the BMC and traffic police decided to place height barriers to stall heavy vehicles.

Many bridges have been closed to vehicular traffic in the wake of the CSMT bridge collapse in Mumbai. As Chinchpokli and Currey Road Bridges too were proven to be weak, it was been decided to ban heavy vehicles on them.

Sunil Shinde, MLA of Worli, said, "There is no way to identify which is a heavy vehicle and which is not if height barriers are not placed. Nevertheless, we have told the civic authorities and traffic to not place the barriers for now to ensure the festivities are not disturbed." Despite repeated attempts to reach Sanjay Darade, chief engineer of Bridges, he was unavailable for comment.

Bridges need repairs

Meanwhile, the railways confirmed that work on the decks of Curry Road and Chinchpokli bridges was needed. "The Central Railway and IIT Bombay have been inspecting all bridges on the Central line. As per the status report the BMC has planned to jointly replace the decks of all three bridges within one year," Central Railway Senior Public Relations Officer Anil Kumar Jain said.

No. of Ganesh mandals and idols in the area

Inputs by Rajendra B. Aklekar

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