Bappa and drone to watch over you at Matunga mandal

Badri Chatterjee, Mumbai: In a first, a Ganesh mandal in the city is flying a drone inside the pandal as a security measure.

Members of GSB Seva Mandal Kings Circle, Matunga, one of the richest Ganpati mandals in the city, said the drone was donated by a devotee and will be used on the five days the mandal celebrates the festival. “The images and videos taken by the drone are strictly for security purposes,” said Satish Nayak, trustee.
He said the drone will fly only inside the pandal. “Incidents of chain snatching, pick-pocketing and other crime can be identified through images and videos using this drone. However, we have made sure the drone does not trespass outside the pandal at any point,” said Nayak.
Celebrating its 62nd year, the mandal known for its ‘Gold Ganesh’, will be under the surveillance of 48 CCTV cameras apart from the drone. “The Matunga police station will keep an eye on real-time footage from this mandal,” said another trustee. Last year, 7,50,000 people visited the pandal and attendance is expected to be similar this year.
This year the 14.5-foot idol has been made from clay and the hands, feet and ears are made of gold. The idol wears 68kg of 22 carat gold and 327kg of silver. “The idol has been made using shadu [clay] and durva [a variety of grass] to ensure it is eco-friendly with no damage to the sea when immersed at Girgaum chowpatty. The idol has also been painted with water-soluble colours so that there is no harm to the marine ecology,” said Avinash Patkar, sculptor from Girgaum, who has been making the idols since 1954.
As opposed to last year’s insurance cover of Rs298 crore, the mandal this year has purchased an insurance of Rs300 crore. “While a majority of the Rs 225 crore protects devotees, mandal members and volunteers, Rs40 crore has been allocated as a public liability cover,” said Nayak, adding Rs25 crore covers the reimbursement for stolen ornaments and the remaining Rs10 crore insures against natural disasters.
GSB Seva Mandal Kings Circle, Matunga
LEGACY: In its 62nd year
WHAT’S SPECIAL THIS TIME: This year the 14.5-foot idol has been made from shadu clay and the hands, feet and ears are made of gold
LOCATION: GSB Sports Club Ground, Near SNDT Women’s College, King’s Circle, Matunga
NEAREST STATIONS: Harbour line: King’s Circle, Central and western line: Matunga
BEST TIME TO VISIT: 6am to 11pm