This year, Ganpati mandals in Mumbai will have to sign an undertaking issued by the fire department if they want to go ahead with Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in the city. This undertaking comprises 23 safety guidelines, that Ganpati mandals are not entirely happy with.
Here is all you need to know about the new norms for the Ganpati festival this year:
The fire department guidelines are clear that the mandals need to submit a "self-certified declaration on a Rs 500 stamp paper about compliance of fire safety measures to the ward authority, and it would be the sole responsibility of organisers to comply with all fire safety measures under Section 3(3) of Maharashtra Fire Prevention and life safety measures Act – 2006", according to the Hindustan Times.
Ganpati mandal owners are sceptical as earlier, the fire brigade only issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC) after inspecting the location of the pandal. Signing the undertaking would mean they could be held responsible if anything goes wrong.
According to the rules, which came into effect from 16 July, organisers must ensure that the pandal is at least 10 feet away from a building so that in case of an emergency, fire engines can get easy access. Pandals also cannot be erected near a chimney, railway line or furnace unless a gap of 15 metres is maintained. The Ganpati mandals have also been clearly asked not to burst firecrackers near the pandals.
Organisers have also been asked not to put up structures more than 45 metres away from a motorable road. The rules also prohibit smoking, bursting firecrackers and cooking in and around the location. The fire brigade has also laid down rules on the number of extinguishers that need to be installed and the size of the stage, The Hindu reported. The department also asked every mandal to have a trained fire marshal wearing the requisite jacket and cap, who will take necessary measures until the fire engines arrive in case of a blaze.
The rules have also made it compulsory that no bulbs, flood lights or wiring be installed within 15 centimetres of any combustible decorative material. There should also be nothing stored beneath the stage of the pandal. Fire retardant paint must be used over the carpet laid out.
On 6 August, the Shiv Sena had attacked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) over reports of permissions being denied to Ganesh pandals to erect mandaps and had demanded that municipal chief Ajoy Mehta ensure that they get the civic body's approval. A Shiv Sena delegation, led by the party's chief whip in the Maharashtra Assembly, met Mehta at the BMC headquarters and alleged that "restrictions" were being imposed on mandals the way the West Bengal government had done the last Durga Puja.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Aug 09, 2018 12:31 PM