The State capital reverberated to the ‘Teen Maar’ beat on Saturday, as the annual extravaganza -- the centralised Ganesh idol immersion procession, was taken out amid a tension-free atmosphere marked by revelry, religious fervour and of course, a trace of anxiety among the police top brass.
Police agencies were understandably anxious, as their plan to ensure completion of immersion of some 8,000 idols by midnight, did not fructify owing to a variety of reasons. With the Telangana March being organised on Sunday on Necklace Road to press for bifurcation of the State and the international event CoP-11 meeting slated to start from Monday, the early completion of the annual procession was too crucial to ensure everything was normal in the State capital.
Government’s tactical move in permitting the Telangana March had indeed paved way for a relaxed atmosphere in the city. The usual police modus operandi of pleading and even bullying the pandal organisers to start the procession early was not visible this year. The huge idol installed at Balapur was shifted onto the vehicle after the customary auction of the ‘laddu’ around 11 a.m for Rs 7.5 lakh bid by P. Goverdhan Reddy. In Ameerpet, a laddu was auctioned for Rs. 12.15 lakh. At several places, trucks reached pandals very late and then cranes were not available to lift the idols. With the police not pushing them, the organisers too took their own time to start the procession. However, the immersion picked up momentum by afternoon. “Looks like the immersions will be over by Sunday morning. It’s not a problem”, said a police officer overseeing the procession. The largest idol in the State at Khairatabad has already been shifted onto the truck by evening and its immersion would take place by midnight, authorities said.
Though the enthusiasm levels appeared to be a bit less in the forenoon, people began lining up the procession route by evening. As thousands of policemen drawn from different central units kept a tight watch, the revelry reached a crescendo.
At innumerable places, stages were set up to welcome the ‘Ganeshas’ from different localities, as the tastefully decorated trucks carrying the idols inched their way through a literal sea of humanity. The procession wended its way through Chandrayangutta, Shamshergunj, Aliabad, Syed Ali Chabutra, Nagulchinta Chowrasta, Shahalibanda, Charminar, Madina, Afzalgunj, Osmani Gunj, Mozamjahi Market, Abids, Basheerbagh, Liberty and reach Hussainsagar. Elsewhere, idol immersion was taking place at a brisk pace in 11 lakes on the outskirts in addition to Hussainsagar lake.
A noticeable feature of this year’s procession is the repeated use of the slogan - ‘Jai Ganesh - Jai Telangana’ during the procession. Speakers at various welcome stages set up by the Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samiti repeatedly raised this slogan and referred to Telangana state issue too.