Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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No to Norms

Most of the ‘Govindas’ groups and the Dahi-Handi organisers were seen breaking the guidelines of the court in yesterday’s event.

Govinda-LeadEven though the Supreme Court has hold on the orders of Bombay High Court, still certain amendments were made for the safety of children with regards to recent accidents during the Dahi Handi practices. The Bombay HC has banned Dahi Handi festivals from being held at concrete roads and also necessitated the placing of cushion or mattresses to minimise the injuries. Many guidelines were given by the Supreme Court to the organisers as well as Govindas to follow. However, on Monday, these organisers and Govindas had flaunted the norms by SC.

Lanes of Mumbai were jammed with power packed people forming human pyramids on the day of Gokul Ashtami or Dahi Handi, an earthen port filled with buttermilk tied to a string or rope. At the same time, self driven supreme excitement has brought many uninvited circumstances and accidents. One is reportedly dead in Thane whereas many have been injured in the event, while breaking the Handi.

Almost all the organisers had organised the event on concrete roads putting the safety norms aside and risking the life of Govindas. There were no cushions, mattresses, net or air bags for safety purpose.

Even small children were seen participating in Dahi Handi inspite of the court order and amendment in Act in Maharashtra Assembly. Over enthusiastic Govindas were seen putting on helmets but elbow and knee pads were missing.

Some of the troops had carried their first aid boxes and organisers also had kits but maximum were not aware about norms given by the apex court. However, in the name of the medical help they had antiseptic liquid, cotton swabs, antiseptic cream and pain relief sprays and nothing beyond that. Ambulances were stalled at some places. Jitendra Awhad, a NCP leader and Minister in the state has stalled four ambulances with doctors in Thane at his event.

It’s not that everyone flaunted the guidelines; there were certain organisers who were very well equipped with safety measures. In North Mumbai, Ekveera Pratishthan organised by Vijay Bhai Salvi almost saw 250 groups of ‘Govindas’ moving in trucks and tempos while travelling to their respective marquees to prove their mettle in breaking the earthen pots hung high in the bylanes.

Under medical assistant, they had ambulance and stretchers with doctors ready on the ground. The concrete road was covered with mattresses. This made Govindas uncomfortable to form pyramids. So, the volunteers were deployed in huge numbers so that not a single Govinda hit the concrete floor. The height limit was 40 ft. The volunteers appointed were those having some experience with traffic regulations. The prize money for the event was Rs. 7,77,777.

Rules were not only broken at the event places but several Govindas had taken the traffic rules for granted. Police were lenient towards them and did not interfere due to the spirit of the festival. In the presence of police, groups indulged in rash driving, triple seat driving, without helmets, drunk driving and were also involved in eve teasing.

According to BMC reports, maximum numbers of injuries were caused by the two wheelers. According to the BMC’s Disaster Management Cell, 40 Govindas in the city have been injured till the time the report went for publishing. 12 of the injured are being treated in KEM, one in Nair Hospital, five in Sion Hospital, while two have been admitted in other hospitals. Three of the five people admitted in Sion hospital have been discharged. 28 of these have minor injuries while one of them was brought in with severe head injuries by 15.44 pm. Apart from them, 13 were admitted for drunk driving and triple seat driving. Out of them, 3 Govindas on bikes met with a major accident on Dahisar flyover. Their bikes collapsed on the bridge which led to major injuries.

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