Mumbai: The purest form of harmony among Mumbaikars was visible once again on Wednesday when they came together to bid adieu to their favourite deity in a conclusion to the 10-day Ganesh festival.
Amidst chants of “Ganpati bappa morya...” and the beating of drums, idols of the elephant-headed god were sent off across different immersions spots. Like every year, scores of devotees thronged the city’s beaches and artificial ponds as part of the processions.
Gracing the farewell proceedings at Girgaum Chowpatty were governor K Sankaranarayanan, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, home minister RR Patil, guardian minister (island city) Jayant Patil, among others. Apart from politicos, senior government and civic officials including state chief secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia, police commissioner Satyapal Singh and actor Vivek Oberoi were also present.
On the final day (when immersions began on Wednesday and continued Thursday morning), 42,335 idols of Lord Ganesha, Gauri and Vishwakarma were immersed across all immersion spots. This included 7,696 idols of sarvajanik mandals, 34,448 household idols and 191 Gauri/Vishwakarma. A total of 2,126 idols were immersed in artificial ponds.
“For the past 10 days, the festival was celebrated peacefully. We hope the rest of the year too is peaceful. The state received sufficient rainfall this season and farmers are happy. Hopefully, financial growth rate too will increase this year,” Chavan said. Home minister Patil said the police department received proper cooperation from Mumbaikars during the festival, and added that the police had taken care of the security arrangements well, with focus on the safety of women and senior citizens.
Around 50,000 policemen worked round the clock to ensure that not a single incident of drowning or major accident took place. The traffic police control room had set up at five spots — Girgaum Chowpatty, Shivaji Park, Bada Masjid Bandra, Juhu Chowpatty and Powai Gaesh Ghat, while around 40 watch towers were set up across the city.
The immersion procession winded up at around 7.30am, compared to 8:45am last year. “Due to heavy rainfall, the processions sped up resulting in early conclusion to immersion. Each agency be it police or BMC, co-operated with the samiti,” Naresh Dahibawkar, chief of the mandals’ committee, said.