Bhubaneswar: Celebration and preparation for Ganesh Chaturthi has started in the city with all the local associations and groups ready with their themed Ganesh idols. Not only the associations but different institutes and colleges are leaving no stone unturned to celebrate the festival with their own colossal idols of Ganesh, each a specimen of intricate craftsmanship.
Like every year, almost every pandal association in the city is trying hammer and tongs to grab the eyeballs with their fancy themed Ganesh idols.
Jagannath Pradhan of Youth Association, Ashok Nagar, said, “This year we are making the Ganesh idol with rice. Last year we made it with pulses.” Pradhan mentioned that artisans from Kolkata and Odisha are working on the 8ft Ganesh idol which would be ready by September 12. He pointed out that their aim is to make a different type of idol every year.
Saheed Club at Sahid Nagar is busy with its 20ft tall idol which is being given the artistic finesse from artisans of Kolkata. Prakash Kumar Hati of the club said, “The idol is being made with red lentil, white til and, silk and ten artistes from Kolkata are working on it. The budget for the idol is estimated to be around Rs 6 lakh.” That apart the pandal’s interior decor is being done with waste glass and mica. He mentioned that they have also planned to hold many cultural programmes during the puja in which Ira Mohanty and her troupe would perform.
Another association in Sahid Nagar near Imfa park, Winner Association, is ready to deck up their pandal with a mammoth 45ft Ganesh idol made of clay and 55 kg of modaks. “We have employed artisans from Midnapore in West Bengal who would be headed by Arun Kumar Mohapatra and it has been 45 days since the work has started,” Amitav Sahu of the association said. For security arrangements Sahu mentioned that they have installed multiple CCTV cameras.
Another city club, Club Glorious at Kharvel Nagar is busy preparing a Himalaya themed Ganesh idol. Biswa, a member of the association, said, “As we know that Lord Ganesh is the son of Shiva and Parvati and had spent his life in the Himalayas, so we went ahead with the idea,” he added. Biswa hoped that the theme will click with the devotees.
Many educational institutes in the city are also brainstorming on out-of-the-box type Ganesh idols on their campuses. Sriram Singh Rattan, a student of English Department in Utkal University, said this year they are planning to celebrate the festival in an eco-friendly way. “We would also clean the varsity premises as we know that cleanliness is next to godliness,” he added.
City idol sellers are also expecting a brisk business this year as they find the demand to be sky high. Deepak Pradhan, a Ganpati idol seller at Unit IX, said this year the demand for Chinese clay made idols is at the highest. He lamented that the idol sellers are unable to adhere to the plastic ban guidelines issued by the government. “We tried our level best not to use it (plastic) but it seems that we can’t adhere to it completely,” he added.
In the last few years, many pandals have come up at places obstructing traffic. Most of these pandals did not have permission from the police.
Last year, the city police introduced a single-window system to make the process easier for organisers to apply for Ganesh Puja permission.
Under the single-window permission clearance system, Ganesh Chaturthi organisers should apply and receive the licence from their respective police stations. Earlier, the applicants had to come all the way to the DCP’s office to get the permission.
Application forms for idol installation and immersion processions are available at all police stations. Applications are received and processed at the police station and sent to the DCP’s office for approval.
“As part of the new system, the organisers are expected to give an undertaking that they will not immerse any idol in the Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers, but only in the temporary ponds created especially for the purpose,” said assistant commissioner of police Asim Mishra.
Arindam Ganguly, OP