No Lalbaugcha Raja this year, mandal to organise donation camp instead

No Lalbaugcha Raja this year, mandal to organise donation camp instead
Instead of the usual festivities, the Lalbaugcha Raja Mandal will organise blood & plasma donation camps and provide financial assistance to families of policemen who succumbed to coronavirus (Representational Image, Courtesy: bollyy.com)

For the first time in its 86 year-old history, the mandal responsible for the Mumbai’s iconic ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ has decided to not install the idol and cancel all festivities in wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal announced the cancellation of Ganesh Chaturthi celebration, in view of the COVID-19, on Wednesday.

The Lalbaugcha Raja Mandal has been installing the Ganpati idol at its pandal in Central Mumbai’s Lalbaug area since 1934. This year, instead of the typical 15-feet plus idol, it will install a small idol of 3-4 feet for the traditional puja.

The mandal’s secretary Sudhir Salvi told reporters that they will be organising blood and plasma donation camps and provide financial assistance to the families of policemen who died of COVID-19.

“We have decided not to install the Ganesh idol this year and instead, celebrate the festival by organising blood donation and plasma donation camps. We are giving Rs 25 lakh to the chief minister’s relief fund,” Salvi was quoted as saying.

“We will provide financial assistance to the families of policemen who have succumbed to coronavirus. We will also honour the families of 20 soldiers who were martyred during clashes with Chinese soldiers in Ladakh,” he added.

The 10-day festival begins on ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’, which falls on August 22 this year. It’s among the most popular occasions in the state, with millions partaking in the festivities.

Last month, the GSB Ganeshotsav Samiti in Wadala also announced that it will postpone the celebration to ‘Magh Shudh Chaturthi’, which falls in February next year.

Even Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called for low-key celebrations this year and urged organisers to focus on social welfare programs.

Further, no huge processions or the elaborate immersion ceremonies will be allowed at seafronts or other water bodies.

The CM’s call comes in the wake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which has infected over 1.74 lakh individuals and resulted in over 7,800 deaths to date in Maharashtra alone.

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