Security alert issued for festival, officials say drones could be used.
Mumbai: Mumbai’s iconic Lalbaugcha Raja mandal will see heavy security deployment this year amid a ‘security alert’ that has been issued for the Ganesh festival.
“The alert issued by central agencies is for whole of Mumbai and not just for Lalbaug. However, this is one of the most sensitive and largely followed deities and hence more focus is on the pandal,” said a police officer requesting anonymity.
Over 50 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be put up and a specially set up control room, in the periphery, will monitor footage on real-time basis. Officials said while drones have never been used till date for securing the pandal, they could be used this year, if required.
Anti eve-teasing squads have also been formed for security of women devotees. At least 600 policemen from the local Kalachowkie and other surrounding police stations will be deployed round the clock around the pandal.
“Major focus is always on the Chivda Gully, Hanuman Temple, Babasaheb Ambedkar Road and peripheral lanes as massive crowd gathers here. There are other important pandals too like the Ganesh Gully and hence special care has to be taken,” said a police officer overseeing the security apparatus.
The control room in the backdrop of the Lalbaugcha Raja’s pandal will act as the command centre for the police for 10 days and a deputy commissioner of police will be deployed there till the last day of the Ganesh festival.
Companies of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) will be specially deployed at the Raja’s pandal to tackle any untoward situation. Among other forces, the Rapid Action Force and state reserve police platoons will form the outermost layer of the security.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Traffic Police department has planned to deploy 3,300 traffic cops on duty with around 100 cops deployed near big Ganpati mandals.
The traffic department has increased the number of teams for nakabandis and deployed traffic cops at all the crowded major signals. Major Ganpati mandals like Lalbaugcha Raja, Andhericha Raja and GSB Mandal’s Ganpati at Kings Circle will attract a huge crowd.