Ganesh Chaturthi 2017: With big money involved, Mumbai mandals rush for insurance cover
With only a day to go for Ganesh Chaturthi, pandals across Mumbai are ready with insurance coverage worth crores for the idols, volunteers and devotees
Insurance has emerged as an integral part of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations with Ganesha mandals across Mumbai, Pune and Maharashtra spending crores to offer coverage to volunteers as well as securing the gleaming idols and the gold, silver and other ornaments that adorn it, from any untoward incidents.
The GSB Seva Mandal at King Circle, which is known to be the richest mandals in Mumbai, for example, has sought an insurance coverage of a whopping Rs 264.25 crore. The Ganesha idol of the mandal is said to wear ornaments made of 70 kilogrammes of gold and 250 kilogrammes silver.
The insurance amount, the mandal says, will not only help it secure the idol and the ornaments but also offer financial security to the volunteers registered with it.
According to the mandal, over 80 percent of the insurance cover is devoted to protecting the volunteers, while only around 8 per cent of the insured amount is reserved for the idols and ornaments.
"We are insured every year. The insurance begins on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi and ends on the day the idol is immersed. We have around 2,224 volunteers working day and night for the celebration. Each one of them is insured for Rs 10 lakh," said RG Bhatt, trustee of GSB Seva Mandal.
Apart from this, Rs 20 crore of the insurance amount is also reserved for those visiting the mandal, Bhatt said.
GSB Seva Mandal celebrates the festival only for five days, but per day insurance comes to be Rs 52.85 crore. An insurance safeguards the organiser's moolah in case of a religious conflict, riots or any terror act.
Organisers of Mumbai's renowned Lalbaugcharaja have also taken an insurance cover of Rs 51 crore.
Sudhir Salvi, the secretary of the Lalbaugcharaja Sarvajani Ganeshshotsav Mandal, said, "Our insurance covers everything — from day one when the idol is brought, to the day the idol is immersed at Girgaon Chowpatty. Our insurance also covers volunteers, devotees, the lighting and other things."
For added security, each mandal has also installed CCTV cameras. As for security, apart from the local police vans, the mandal has hired services of private security guards as well to manage the crowd.
Insurance is a focus not just of larger mandals but smaller ones too, with each seeking financial security from any untoward incidents. For example, the Ganesh Galli mandal has sought coverage of Rs 7.5 crore whereas Andhericha Raja has sought coverage of Rs 5 crore.
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