COVID-19: CM calls for low-key Ganpati celebration this year

Mumbai, Jun 18 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday called for a simple and low-key Ganpati festival celebration this year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, and asked Ganesh mandals to undertake social welfare programmes.

Thackeray said the threat of coronavirus is not yet over and therefore, it will not be possible to celebrate the Ganesh festival with the usual pomp and gaiety.

He said there should be no crowding or processions during the festival.

The 10-day festival begins on 'Ganesh Chaturthi', which falls on August 22 this year.

Ganeshotsav is the most popular festival in Maharashtra. The pandals set up by various mandals in Mumbai and other places in the state attract thousands of devotees during the 10-day festivities.

During a video conference with various Ganesh mandals on Thursday, Thackeray asked them to set an example before the world about celebrating the festival in a simple way while keeping in mind their social responsibility.

The meeting was held to discuss law and order strategies during the Ganpati festival.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Ministers of State for Home Satej Patil and Shambhuraje Desai and other government and police officials as well as representatives of various Ganesh mandals joined the meeting from the state secretariat.

'We need to decide how we can celebrate the festival in a simple way. Under the 'Mission Begin Again', we have to take every step cautiously. Our culture and traditions should not be affected, but we should also remember our social responsibility. We need to chalk out programmes accordingly,' Thackeray said.

He appealed to all the Ganesh mandals to cooperate with the government in view of the present situation.

Till Wednesday, Maharashtra 1,16,752 COVID-19 cases and 5,651 deaths due to the disease.

Last week, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh also held a meeting with representatives of various Ganesh mandals from the city and sought their views on how they plan to organise the Ganpati festival celebration this year.

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the GSB Ganeshotsav Samiti in Wadala area of Mumbai has already postponed the celebration to 'Magh Shudh Chaturthi' in February next year, a samiti official said last month.

The decision was taken in view of the health and safety of the public, the official said. PTI MR GK GK