Turbhe, Navi Mumbai: The golden jubilee celebrations of the oldest public Ganeshutsav in Navi Mumbai, ‘Navi Mumbaicha Raja’ started by the Shivchaya Mitra Mandal, Turbhe, in 1971, that was to be organized this year, has been postponed to 2021, in the wake of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic crisis, announced Ankush Vaiti, president of SMM.

The SMM public Ganeshutsav celebration every year, during the 5 decades, has always been the most popular in the city, with very artistic replicas of the most popular shrines in the country, a live, emphatic display of relevant social awareness and messages to the community, several charitable activities for the needy, like free health check-up camps, distribution of sarees, blood donation camps, eye check-up camps, annadaan, traditional bhajan, kirtan and devotional discourse programs and the largest funfair with a variety of play equipment, food stalls and novelties.

The SM Mandal has always been in the forefront providing financial assistance during natural calamities like floods, drought and earthquakes. This year the Mandal

donated Rs. 1 lakh to the Chief Minister’s Fund to combat the corona-virus pandemic crisis, which was handed over to the then Konkan Divisional Commissioner, Shivajirao Daund by Ankush Vaiti and the trustees of SMM. The Mandal also distributed mid-day meals to 800 migrant workers and needy citizens for 40 days during the corona-virus pandemic lockdown. Further, the Mandal contributed 500 kg. food-grains (rice, tur dal, potatoes, tomatoes and vegetables) to the government’s community kitchen at the Garware canteen in the Mumbai University campus to feed the poor and needy during the pandemic lockdown. Financial assistance was given for the education of 5 tribal students of Wada taluka to pursue further studies after HSC, to an orphan girl student, Kumari Yogeshwari Bhau Chamnar and to families in Srivardhan taluka of Raigad district affected by the Nisarg storm.

This year, as per the Government’s notification, SMM installed a 21-inches Shadu (natural) clay idol of Lord Ganesha for 1 ½ days and celebrated the festival following all norms strictly, in the interest of the community, from the personal contribution of the trustees, without seeking any collection or donation from the well-wishers or corporate donors. A modest display of environmental awareness, in the wake of the grave ecological concerns, calling to plant and conserve more trees was put up with floral decoration on the trees. The mandap surroundings were thoroughly sanitized and a sanitizer stand was provided near the mandap. Every devotee visiting the Mandal’s Ganpati was checked with an oximeter and wearing a mask was compulsory for the darshan.

The immersion of the Lord’s idol this year was done in an artificial pond set up by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, here, in a low-key manner though the emotions were sincere, deep and high pitched with prayers for the earliest eradication of the pandemic.   

Stating that in spite of very modest celebrations this year, the Mandal committed itself to fulfilling its social obligations, Ankush Vaiti appreciated and acknowledged the support of all well-wishers and patrons in this effort year after year in this incredible, satisfying, purposeful and divine journey of 50 long years.

He also expressed the intention of the Mandal to have a grand, golden jubilee celebrations in 2021 and earnestly appealed for generous support and contribution next year, with the assurance that their money would be well utilized for the welfare of the community and the most pious, public celebration of Ganeshutsav.