Navratri mandals will face fines for making potholes during pandal installation, warns BMC

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will impose fines on organising committees of Navratri events this year if they are found damaging roads, including pothole formation, while setting up pandals and barricades in Mumbai, said officials on Tuesday.

The move came in the lines of a set of guidelines issued during Ganeshotsav this year, said BMC officials, adding that “organising committees often dig up roads to set up pandals and barricades during various festivals, damaging the roads badly”. Ward officials will conduct surveys on their respective areas following the culmination of the nine-day festival — from September 26 to October 5, and identify potholes formed along the roads within the vicinity of different pandals. After taking stock of the situation, BMC will impose a fine of Rs 2,000 per pothole on the event organisers concerned, said officials of the civic body.

BMC has also been carrying out a similar enforcement drive following Anant Chaturdashi — last day of Ganeshotsava this year. The officials have been inspecting roads across the city and imposing fines on event organisers for damaging roads, especially leading to formation of potholes. During Ganeshotsava this year, BMC fined Lalbaughcha Raja — one of the biggest mandals of Mumbai — of Rs 3.66 lakh for creating 183 potholes during the festival.

Ramakant Biradar, deputy municipal commissioner of BMC, said that as many as 1,304 Navratri Mandals have been granted permission to organise Navratri events this year. “We have issued the permission letter and related guidelines to the event organisers. If any committee is found damaging roads while setting up pandals or barricades for the celebrations, they will be fined as per the rules… just as done during Ganeshotsava,” Biradar said.

BMC is also keeping a check on noise pollution during Navratri, said officials, adding that the civic body receives several complaints against event organisers for playing loud music till late night during the nine-day festival every year. “We have alerted our control room about the limits of the decibel levels. Our officers will take quick action against violators… as soon as we receive such complaints,” Biradar added.

Meanwhile, organisers of Navratri and Garba events said that “they usually set up pandals on open grounds, and not on the roads of Mumbai”..

“Almost all the Navratri pandals in Mumbai are being set up on open grounds and community halls, as doing such on the roads affects traffic,” said Avinash Patel, member of a Navratri mandal in Borivali.

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