In an attempt to ensure the hassle-free immersion of Ganesh idols in the city, the police and the Fire Services Department have laid down some stringent norms pertaining to venue points, procession routes and use of sound systems.
As the nine-day Vinayaka Chavithi celebrations are drawing to a close, the authorities have scheduled the immersion of the idols in the night daily until Friday. The pandal organisers have been told to begin the procession after 10 p.m. to avoid traffic congestions during the peak evening hours.
In a bid to keep beaches and tourist attraction points free of debris, the City Police and the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) have identified 11 immersion points and urged the pandal organisers to use the venues only.
The identified points are Jetty near Coastal Battery, Slipway Jetty, Peda Waltair, Jalaripeta, Rushikonda, Sagar Nagar, Jodugulapalem, Appikonda Ravala Cheruvu, Mutyalammapalem (Parawada), Bheemili Beach, Pindagadi water tank and Gosthani river.
Even before the celebrations began, the police authorities had imposed a restriction on the height of the idols at 8 feet, with a rider that the idols beyond this height must be immersed at the pandals itself. “This year, the number of big idols exceeding eight-foot height is very less. It could be hardly around 50,” said DCP (Law and Order) K. Fakkeerappa.
Meanwhile, the fire services officials have said that there is no need of fire tender for the immersion of idols with the height between 8 to 10 feet. “The idols beyond 15 feet, however, need fire tenders for spot immersion,” said a senior officer from the Fire Services Department.
The officials have also cautioned the pandal organisers not to use high-decibel sound system and high-power fire crackers during the procession.
“All pandal organisers have been instructed to keep basic safety equipment such as sand buckets and water handy,” said District Fire Officer B.V.S. Ram Prakash.
QR codes will be stuck to the idols to enable the police to monitor the procession routes and in case of any diversion, the nearest police patrol team will be alerted.
More night patrolling teams have been deployed at the immersion points. Around 300 community guards and expert swimmers will also be stationed, a senior police officer told The Hindu.
“All immersion points have been barricaded and cranes have been kept ready to ensure that the immersion of Ganesha idols is performed sans hassles,” said Mr. Fakkeerappa.