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First time in Pune, fire-safety awards for Ganesh mandals this year

With an aim to curb fire hazards during the upcoming Ganesh festival in the city, the Pune City Fire Brigade and non-profit organisation Fire Safety Association of India (FSAI) have launched a competition for Ganesh mandals (Ganeshotsav committees).

Ganesh festival will be celebrated this year between September 19 (Ganesh Chaturthi) and September 28 (Anant Chaturdashi). Every year, over 3,000 Ganesh mandals install Ganpati idols and organise various events to mark the 10-day festival.

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Pune City Fire Brigade Chief Devendra Potphode said, “For the first time this year, we are organising a competition for the Ganesh mandals in which a detailed review of their fire safety preparedness will be conducted by a joint team of the Pune Fire Brigade and the FSAI. The idea is not just to ensure a fire hazard-safe Ganesh festival celebration but also to instil a culture of fire safety among these organisations.”

Officials said a review of each of the registered Ganesh mandal will be done by the joint team on various parameters including how the Ganesh pandal is constructed from the point of view of fire safety and whether there is adequate provision of fire safety equipment. Ganesh pandals are prone to fire hazards considering the small spaces in which idols are installed, the presence of diyas and oil lamps, the use of camphor during pujas, and the temporary electric connections to these structures to power the lighting and decorative lamps, they added.

Fire Chief Potphode further said, “We are asking Ganesh mandals to register with us by filling out an online form. Our teams will visit individual Ganesh pandals and evaluate them. Three winners will be given awards.”

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