HAPPY GANESH CHATURTHI 2022: Ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which will begin on August 31, the Maharashtra government has issued traffic guidelines for vehicles, especially for those using the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde has instructed state officials to establish a separate lane at toll booths on the Mumbai-Pune highway for vehicles traveling for the ten-day festival.
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Mr Shinde had already visited the Khalapur toll station and made his decision after discussing it with officials. A statement from the chief minister’s office on Sunday released the guidelines saying the decision was made to manage and improve traffic on the busy highway.
The 94.5 km long Mumbai-Pune expressway is one of the busiest highways in India. It handles around 60,000 vehicles a day, a figure that increases significantly during the holiday season.
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Shinde called for more personnel to be deployed on the expressway to avoid rush-hour traffic jams at expressway toll booths. He also urged authorities to step up patrols and CCTV systems to prevent accidents and ensure safety across the entire expressway.
“All restrictions on religious holidays imposed during the pandemic have been lifted. People should be able to welcome such festivals with enthusiasm. Shinde said.
He also explained that a one-stop-shop system would be put in place to help Ganesh mandals across the state obtain permits for pandals and other necessary things for the festival.
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“A committee has been set up to find a solution for Ganesh idols in plaster of Paris (PoP). It will provide environmentally friendly solutions,” Mr. Shinde added.
In honor of the feast of Ganesh, the Maharashtra government has waived tolls on the Mumbai-Bengaluru and Mumbai-Goa highways, as well as tolls on other Public Works Department (PWD) roads, from August 27 to September 11, in order to relieve Ganpati devotees traveling from various parts of the state to the Konkan coastal belt.
The Maharashtra government has lifted all festival restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The height limits of Lord Ganesh idols that were installed by mandals and Sarvajanik (community) households have also been removed. This year, people are allowed to take part in public festivities and perform processions during Ganeshotsav.
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