Hyderabad: The mammoth Ganesh procession was underway here on Sunday amid tight security.
Hundreds of idols from various parts of Hyderabad, its twin city Secunderabad and surrounding areas were bring carried to water bodies for immersion, marking the culmination of 11-day festivities.
Thousands of people were participating in the “Shobha yatra” or the centralized procession from Balapur on Hyderabad fringes to Hussain Sagar in the heart of the city.
Idols of the elephant-headed Hindu god in different sizes and avatars were being brought to the lake on trucks amid slogans of devotees as police were maintaining a tight vigil to prevent any untoward incident.
More than 15 lakh people are expected to participate in the day-long procession.
According to officials, 14,000 idols were installed in ‘pandals’ or makeshift structures at public places while an equal number of idols were put up without registration. Majority of these idols will be immersed in Hussain Sagar.
The main procession began from Balapur with the traditional auction of ‘laddu’. Resident Srinivas Gupta bought the ‘laddu’ for Rs 16.60 lakh.
About 20,000 policemen have been deployed as part of the massive security arrangements for the annual procession.
Director General of Police Mahender Reddy and other top officials are monitoring the procession in Hyderabad and other major towns in Telangana at the state command and control centre, connected with CCTV cameras.
The police chief said they were using technology for effective monitoring to ensure peaceful and smooth conduct of the processions.
In Hyderabad alone, 2.5 lakh surveillance cameras are being used to monitor the procession from Balapur to Hussain Sagar.
For the second year in a row, the tallest idol began its journey early. The 57-feet-tall Ganesh installed at Khairatabad was carried on a trailer truck. After covering the four-km distance, the idol reached Hussain Sagar by afternoon.
During the previous years, the tallest idol used to be the last to begin its journey for immersion and the process used to stretch on to the next day. The police persuaded the organisers to start the procession early for smooth conduct of the immersion.
Authorities have deployed 200 cranes, including 51 static cranes, at Hussain Sagar and other water bodies for immersion.
According to officials, over 50,000 idols including small and medium sized idols were immersed during the last two days. Majority of the idols will be immersed on Sunday.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has deployed 10,000 sanitation workers across the twin cities. According to GHMC commissioner M. Dana Kishore, one action teams was deployed every 3 km along 370 km procession route (all processions from different points).
Two teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, 38 fire tenders, 12 boats and 10 swimmers were deployed to deal with any emergency situation.