The stage is set for Ganesh immersion procession in Hyderabad on Sunday amid tight security arrangements and Covid-19 safety guidelines.
About 27,000 policemen will be deployed under the limits of Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda police commissionerates as nearly 40,000 idols will be immersed in Hussain Sagar and more than 50 other lakes and ponds in and around the city.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said tight security arrangements were in place for the immersion procession, which will start from Balapur and pass through various parts of the city to reach Hussain Sagar in the heart of the city.
As the procession passes through communally sensitive old city, police will keep a tight vigil along the procession route to prevent any untoward incident. Top police officials will monitor the procession from command and control centre through CCTV cameras.
The mammoth procession brings the entire city to a halt. Police have imposed traffic restrictions from 6 a.m. on Sunday till 6 a.m. on Monday. Liquor shops and bars will remain closed in the limits of all three police commissionerates.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has arranged 330 cranes of various capacities at 33 lakes and 25 special ponds created for the purpose.
A total of 40 cranes have been deployed for immersion at Hussain Sagar lake in the heart of the city.
The decks for immersion in Hussain Sagar lake were cleared after the Supreme Court allowed the immersion of idols made of Plaster of Paris for this year.
Earlier, Telangana High Court had refused to allow immersion of idols of Plaster of Paris and had rejected the plea of GHMC for modifying its orders, saying it can’t allow pollution of the lake.
Following the Telangana High Court rejecting its review petition, the GHMC had moved the Supreme Court, which gave the exemption for this year.
More than 8,000 workers, constituting 162 Ganesh Action Teams, would be posted on three shifts to ensure smooth completion of immersion.
In order to remove the heavy load of waste after immersion, GHMC will press into service 20 excavators, 21 earth-movers, 39 mini tippers and 44 vehicles with 10 tonnes of capacity.
Ganesh festivities could not be held last year due to Covid-19 pandemic. Like in the past, thousands of idols have been installed this year.
However, authorities have appealed to devotees to take all precautions in view of Covid. Police said not more than 10 people should accompany a big idol on a truck.
Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board set up special camps at 101 locations, including procession routes, to provide 30 lakh packets of water to devotees.
The Roads & Buildings department has set up barricades, watch towers and view cutters, while the Fire department would provide 38 fire-tending vehicles to face emergency situations.
Authorities have also deployed boats with 30 expert swimmers at Hussain Sagar for help in case of any drowning incident.
The South Central Railway (SCR) will run eight MMTS special trains to various destinations in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunder on the intervening night of September 19-20 (between 22:00 hrs and 04:00 hrs).
The special trains will be operated between Secunderabad-Hyderabad, Hyderabad-Lingampalli, Lingampalli-Hyderabad, Hyderabad -Secunderabad Hyderabad-Lingampalli, Lingampalli-Falaknuma and Falaknuma-Secunderabad who would be travelling for witnessing the immersion of Ganesh idols on the final day of the festivities.
Hyderabad Metro Rail has also decided to extend its services on Sunday. Instead of running the last services at 10.15 p.m. on that day, it extended the time till 1 a.m. The trains will reach terminating stations by about 2 a.m.
Hyderabad Metro appealed to passengers to strictly follow the Covid-19 Safety guidelines including social distancing, wearing of face masks, regular hand sanitization, and thermal screening.