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On Ganesh Chaturthi, less than 500 people line up for Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja health camp

In view of the Covid pandemic, the Lalbaugcha Raja organising committee has set up a blood and plasma donation camp in place of its usual towering Ganpati idol.

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Mumbai: Every year, right from the first day of the 10-day Ganeshotsav, lakhs of people make their way to Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja Ganesh mandal, where they battle huge crowds and serpentine queues just to be able to worship the elephant-headed idol for a minute or two.

However, this year, with the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganpati mandal not having installed an idol in view of the coronavirus pandemic, and, instead, organised an ‘Aarogyautsav’ (health festival), the Lalbaug mandal saw less than 500 visitors on Ganesh Chaturthi Saturday.

Moreover, politicians and celebrities, whose visits to the mandal make headlines every year, stayed away.

Also read: Why stopping ‘super-spreading’ events may be key to arresting the Covid pandemic

Blood and plasma donation instead of towering idol

Keeping in mind the pandemic and the need to keep celebrations muted, the organising committee of the Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal has organised a blood and plasma donation camp. While the plasma camp has been going on since 3 August in association with the nearby King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, the blood donation camp was inaugurated at 7 am on Ganesh Chaturthi and will be held from 10 am to 4 pm throughout the festival.

“We collected 444 bottles of blood today. We think it’s an okay figure since our target is to collect a minimum 500 a day, and 5,000 over the 10-day festival,” Sudhir Salvi, a functionary of the organising committee, told ThePrint.

“Usually, at least eight to 10 lakh people come for darshan of Lalbaugcha Raja on the first day of the festival. A number of politicians and celebrities come, too. This year, on the first day at least, there were no celebrities or politicians,” he added.

The Lalbaugcha Raja mandal has so far been able to get 129 people who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate their plasma at KEM Hospital.

Recovered Covid patients have antibodies in their plasma that can help Covid-positive patients fight the infection. Patients can donate plasma 28 days after recovery and then again within four weeks after the first donation.

Maharashtra has recorded more than 6.5 lakh Covid cases as of Saturday, including 4.7 lakh recoveries. However, the response to plasma donation overall has been poor so far, with people wary of returning to hospitals for the procedure in the fear of getting reinfected.

“Altogether, 267 people have screened themselves through our mandal to determine their eligibility for plasma donation. Today, 15 people got themselves screened,” Salvi said.

Also read: Use local flowers this Onam, CM Vijayan tells Kerala as Covid threat casts shadow on festival


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    ” elephant-headed idol for a minute or two “, come up with better wordings, why can’t u call as Ganapati !?

    • The insidious plan is to insult, demean and denigrate Hinduism and Hindu culture and to show how people are losing faith; that’s why use of phrases like “elephant headed idol”, emphasis on “only 500”. Note that the author is “Manasi Phadke”…. a dyed in the wool Marathi name.
      The rot runs very very deep.

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