The nine-day Ganesh festival, over years, appears to have turned a money spinner for idle youth, anti-social elements,
lower cadre of political parties. Instead of creating an atmosphere of devotion, the areas where Ganesh idols are installed produce much din and noise and at some places even host obscene dances.
The organisers spend lavishly, to the tune of lakhs of rupees, out of the funds collected from the public under duress. One of the organisers took a flight to Hyderabad to select Ganesh idol.
Interestingly, the revenue of liquor shops and bars doubled at many places, with organising members switching to costlier brands and consuming more “My bar sales double during every Ganesh celebrations with more customers ordering premium drinks,” said liquor shop owner Annapa Reddy, adding “these type of utsavams must be conducted more often, so that I can get good income.”
According to estimates, as many as 200 big Ganesh idols have been installed at various places in Nellore alone, with another 300 in other municipal towns in the district like Gudur, Kavali and Venkatagiri.
It is estimated that the total donations collected run up to Rs 7 crore to Rs 10 crore in the city and Rs 12 crore in the rest of the district.
Ganesh festival public celebrations started in Nellore by RSS workers 30 years ago in a small way. The first event was at Seema centre on the trunk road, which was named Shivaji Centre for the occasion. The celebrations spread to Kapu street and KVR center and political leaders started getting involved.