Following years of warnings and appeals by State government and private agencies ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, unpainted, environment-friendly idols of the God of Wisdom appear to have finally become the preferred choice of many people ahead of the festival that begins on Monday.
These unpainted idols have flooded roadside stalls. According to vendors, they have attracted more customers. However, organisers of the larger congregational festivities, held in pandals, seemingly remained committed to the larger, painted idols.
While celebrations began with worshiping Goddess Gowri on Sunday, the real festival will happen on Monday when Ganesh is worshiped. People thronged markets on Sunday to make last-minute purchases. Flowers were being sold at exorbitant rates, given heavy demand. One arm-length bunches of chrysanthemums were being sold at `40 while jasmines were going at `50.
South Western Railway will run a ‘Puja special’ train from Bangalore city and back from Dharwad to Yeshwantpur. The Bangalore city-Dharwad Special Express will depart at 10.30 pm on Monday and reach Dharwad at 7.30 am the next day. In the return direction, Dharward- Yeshwantpur Special Express will leave Dharwad at 9 am on Tuesday and arrive at Yeshwantpur at 5.30 pm the next day. The train will stop at Yeshwantpur, Tumkur, Tiptur, Arsikere, Kadur, Birur, Davangere, Harihara, Ranibennur, Haveri, and Hubli.
The police have deployed armed personnel at many sensitive places. According to the City Police Commissioner’s office, 9,000 policemen, 1,000 guards, 30 Karnataka State Reserve Police and 32 City Armed Reserve platoons have been deployed across the city.
CCTVs have been installed at Sankey Tank, Halasur, Yediyur, Hebbal and other lakes where Ganesh idols will be immersed.
“Sensitive areas like Tannery Road, Shivajinagar, Jayanagar, Chamarajpet, J J Nagar, Yarabnagar, J C Nagar and Chikkabettahalli are being monitored through CCTVs,” a senior police officer added.