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Ganpati mandals in downsizing mode

Chandan Kishore Kant in Mumbai | August 27, 2005 11:44 IST

Ganeshotsava this year might not be as opulent as it has always been.

In the light of the floods that hit Mumbai last month, the city sarvajanik utsav mandals are cutting down their expenditure. Some of them are even contributing money for the flood victims.

"Ganeshotsav is a collection-based programme. Since people in the city have suffered a lot, we are not going to to ask for subscriptions from anybody. So, we will cut the cost of celebrations this year," said Prabhakar Rahate, chairman, Bal Mitra Mandal, Kandivli.

Of the 70 and more utsav mandals in Kandivali, no one is in a condition to  spend heavily this year. Left with no option, the mandals have decided to cut their spending.

"Last year, we spent Rs 1.5 lakh but this year we are slashing down to Rs 50,000," Rahate said. It is the same story at the Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsava Mandal at Ganesh Gali, which is famous for  the country's biggest Ganesh installation.

"We have reduced our cost from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 3 lakh," said a committee member. He said the committee was donating Rs 5 lakh to the flood victims thereby cutting cost on decoration.

Tejukaya Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava Mandal, at Lalbaug, is also planning to reduce the cost by at least Rs 25,000. Chaurasiya Samaj Bal Mitra Mandal at Sutar gali in Grant Road too is expected to slash down its pandal costs by two-thirds.

Even the Siddhivinayak temple Prabahdevi, which had planned to have Ganeshotsava on a grand scale this year, has completely put off the function.

Sources said different corporate sponsors were expected to give amounts totalling upto more than Rs 2.5 crore. However, it has been postponed due to last month floods.

"We have donated Rs 1 crore in the Chief Minister's Relief Fund. We will also be spending Rs 4 crore in rehabilitating flood victims in the Konkan region," said Sanjay Bhagwat, chief executive officer of the temple trust.

The cost cutting will be in decoration, lightning and entertainment. This year, popular mythological plays are likely to be absent from the pandals.

However, organisers said emphatically that there would be no cost reduction in the puja. "It is only once a year that we get to worship Ganapati. He gives us so much, how can we make relaxations in the puja," said a committee member.

In contrast, the Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal popularly known as Lalbaug Ka Raja paints a happy picture.

"We are not going to cut down on any of our expenditure. Our Mandap stood at Rs 15 lakh last year, and so it will be this year," said Sudhir Salve, committee member.

"We get a lot of subscription from our Daan Peti which touches several lakhs during the festival days. Also, since our preparation begins around at May, we don't expect to have to scale down this year," Salve added. The mandal gets its fund from businessmen from all over the state and  the country.

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