The Chinchpokli Chintamani Ganpati idol of the oldest Ganesh mandal in Mumbai was unveiled on Wednesday for a photoshoot. (Express photo by Prashant Nadkar)
Suburban Mumbai has the highest number of illegal Ganpati pandals in the state, according to the data submitted by the state government to the Bombay High Court earlier this week.
This festival season, illegal Ganpati pandals are a sore spot for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the state government. While both the authorities are in conflict over the exact number of illegal pandals in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, The Sunday Express looks at the figures revealed by the state.
In an affidavit, the state government had informed the court that following a survey they found that by August there were 132 illegal pandals in the island city and 217 in the suburbs. There were 54 such pandals in Thane and 66 in Ulhasnagar, said the data. Incidentally, the government had not found any illegal pandals in Navi Mumbai.
The data presented by the government showed that Bhandup alone had 55 illegal pandals, the highest in suburban Mumbai. Andheri, Malad and Borivali had around 45 illegal pandals each. Kurla and Chembur had 15 illegal pandals each. In Kalyan-Dombivli area, government officials found 24 pandals did not have the requisite permissions. There were 113 such pandals in Bhiwandi. Panvel had none.
In comparison, Kolhapur had 152 illegal pandals and Nashik had 108. The data for Pune, Pimpri and Chinchwad was unavailable. Amaravati and Nagpur had none.
The Bombay High Court, which was hearing a petition filed by the Awaaz Foundation and others on various religious festivals in the area and the noise pollution created, had asked BMC about the actions it had taken against illegal pandals. In response, the BMC said there were no illegal pandals in Mumbai city. The civic body said there were 79 illegal pandals in the suburbs of which 20 had been demolished.