Plastic ban makes Ganpati Bappa dearer for Mumbaikars this year

Mumbai: The plastic ban in Maharashtra is impacting costs of almost everything directly or indirectly. Even the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated across Maharashtra will be no exception.

Ganeshotsav is observed in second and third weeks of September, but workshops of idol makers and other festive decorations are already feeling the heat of plastic ban in the state that has been effective since June 23 this year.

According to the idol makers and decorators, the costs of idols during the festival are bound to go up this year after the state environment department put a restriction on several plastic and thermocol items this year.

Krunal Patil, an idol maker in Parel area of Mumbai, told ANI, “The prices of idols will surely go up as we have to find some alternatives for plastic and thermocol which will be costlier. But fortunately, the number of bookings for idols has not been affected much despite high costing because this is a matter of faith and people will bear the extra cost. They will anyhow invite Bappa to their homes.”

Going by the claims of the idol makers, the number of idols will not go down this year but devotees will have to spend comparatively more than previous years for their Bappa.

The Saarvajanik Ganseshotsav Mandals and devotees who bring Ganesha idols to their homes have reasons to worry because this year they are expected to spend 10-20% more on their idols and pandal decorations.

“We are afraid that festivities will be costlier this year. We have to observe the festival like every year as it is not only a matter of our faith or festivities but Mumbai’s Ganseshotsav is world famous and everyone enjoys it. However, we are in constant touch with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and government officials to see if we can be exempted from the plastic ban up to some extent,” said Naresh Dahibawkar, Chairman of Mumbai Ganeshotsav Mandals co-ordination committee.

Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, the umbrella body of the festivities in Mumbai, has provided several representations to state government and Municipal commission and is expecting a positive response from them for exemption of the Mandals from the plastic ban.

However, a relaxed plastic ban for Ganpati Mandals will not have much impact on the costs as most of the booking are either already done or soon to be done. So, it is clear that after last year’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) effect, this year plastic ban will also make Mumbaikars Bappa a bit dearer.

On March 23, the Maharashtra government had issued a notification, imposing a ban on the manufacture, use, sale and distribution of all plastic materials like plastic bags, spoons, plates, bottles and thermocol items.
On April 13, the Bombay High Court had called the ban ‘reasonable’.

Later on June 23, the BMC had launched a drive against the plastic and formed various teams to conduct raids at various places. Anyone who was found using plastic was imposed with a fine.

A complain authority has been formed at every ward for those who refused to pay the fine. And, a case will be registered against those who refused to pay the fine. (ANI)