As the city gears up to welcome Bappa on Thursday, the Mumbai police are implementing various measures to ensure that only the celebrations make headlines, not any untoward incident.
Preparing a road map for the festival starting on September 17, the department has instructed its men to focus on the priorities identified to prevent the festivities from going wayward.
In a press conference by joint commissioner of police (traffic) Milind Bharambe and joint commissioner of police (law and order) Deven Bharti, the senior officers assured Mumbaikars of deploying enough personnel in the city for the festival.
The police have also cancelled leaves of its personnel, with around 35,000-plus men in khaki put on bandobast duties from Thursday. Personnel of the Quick Response Team, Rapid Action Force, and State Reserve Police Force will also be deployed for security.
“We are well prepared for Ganesh Chaturthi. Our men will maintain vigil 24×7 for all days of the festival. We will also be assisted by volunteers from National Cadet Corps, Scout and Guide, and NGOs,” said Bharti.
Speaking about their priorities for the festival, Bharti said stress has been laid on anti-terror measures and women’s safety. “There is no specific terror alert, but we are not taking any chances and have already started collecting intelligence. We will also be ensuring that no untoward incident with women takes place in the city at crowded pandals. There will be policemen and women in plain clothes to keep an eye out for such miscreants,” he added.
“For the first time, the entire route taken by Lalbaugcha Raja will be under surveillance of CCTVs, closely monitored from the control room.”
The police have also ensured that the process of registration and permissions for sarvajanik Ganesh pandals in city is smooth. Chief minister Devendra Fadavnis had chaired a meeting for the same. “We have ensured that there will be no problems for pandals. A single-window system was created at ward level, which took care of all the permissions,” said Bharti.
One of the challenges that the police are expecting to face this festival is of gossip-mongering. Hence, the department has put in place men to monitor the cyber space.