ANDHRA PRADESH

Police gear up for Ganesh immersion

HYDERABAD Sept. 6. The City Police Commissioner, M.V. Krishna Rao, has left the decision on the date of immersion of Ganesh idols in different parts of the twin cities to the discretion of the respective local organisers, while clarifying that the police would not insist on a particular date.

``We are fully prepared to handle the Ganesh immersion programme on September 9. The date has been decided after discussing with the Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samiti and we recommended the Government to declare a holiday on the day to facilitate a smooth programme,'' he said.

The Police Commissioner said the police would have no objection if some organisers wished to immerse the idols a day before the scheduled date or a day later too. However, he requested that the idols coming out from the Old City be given preference in the route as they start early in the morning.

Mr. Krishna Rao advised the organisers at Begum Bazar and surrounding areas to start their immersion procession towards the evening. He was addressing a meeting of the Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi office-bearers and workers of the Ganesh mandaps here on Saturday.

Dismissing fears of trouble during the immersion day, he said there was "no doubt whatsoever'' that the event would go off peacefully. The Union Minister of State for Railways, Bandaru Dattatreya, cautioned the workers about rumour mongers and "those out to create trouble.''

He urged the Government and the police to be vigilant against the extremist elements. The organisers and activists should create the right atmosphere for a peaceful conduct of the immersion programme.

The TRS leader and MP, A. Narendra, complained about the alleged discrimination of the police in restricting the sound systems. He wanted to know why the AP Transco could not give free power supply to the pandals. There was not much pollution to the Vinayaksagar Lake due to idols' immersion, he felt.

The vice-president of the samithi, Karodimal Narsingh Puria, also complained about the "harassment'' of electricity authorities in charging a flat rate of Rs. 750 per pandal. He and other leaders demanded that the Transco return the money, as the power utilised would be very less.

The Mayor, T. Krishna Reddy, the Deputy Mayor, Subash Chanderji, BJP leaders -- Baddam Bal Reddy and Premsingh Rathod - the samithi president, G. Pulla Reddy, and others also spoke.

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