Hyderabad, Sep (IANS) A mammoth Ganesh immersion procession was underway in Hyderabad on Sunday amid massive security arrangements and despite intermittent rains.
Thousands of devotees were participating in the programmes across the city to bid adieu to Ganesh while about 27,000 security personnel were deployed as part of the elaborate arrangements for smooth and peaceful conduct of the annual rituals.
Amid chanting of slogans, devotees were carrying thousands of idols to Hussain Sagar lake and more than more than 50 other lakes and ponds in and around the city.
"Shoba yatra", as the immersion procession is called, was underway amidst intermittent rains in Hyderabad. Hundreds of trucks were heading towards Hussain Sagar and other lakes amid the rains.
The Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi, the organisers of the procession, set up special platforms at Charminar and Moazzam Jahi Market to welcome idols.
About 27,000 policemen were deployed under the limits of Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda police commissionerates as nearly 40,000 idols will be immersed in Hussain Sagar and other lakes.
Director General of Police M. Mahender Reddy was monitoring immersion processions in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana from state command and control centre.
The police chief said they were monitoring the processions through use of technology. He said monitoring was being done from police station level to city, district and the state level through CCTV cameras linked to control rooms.
Animal Husbandry Minister T. Srinivas Yadav reviewed the arrangements at Hussain Sagar. He sailed in a boat to see the immersion points and the steps taken to deal with any emergency.
Yadav said the immersion was on in a smooth manner. He said the process was likely to be completed by midnight or early Monday.
The massive procession with large idols began from Balapur on the outskirts of the city while dozens of processions joined it enroute. The procession moved through communally sensitive old city including historic Charminar, Moazzam Jahi Market and Basheerbagh before reaching Hussain Sagar in the heart of the city.
Police were keeping a close watch on the procession from command and control centre linked with CCTV cameras installed along the procession route.
Idols larger than 10 feet were being immersed from Tank Bund side while smaller idols were diverted to other points around Hussain Sagar.
Hyderabad's tallest idol from Khairatabad reached Hussain Sagar in the afternoon. The 40-feet tall and 23-feet wide idol was brought to NTR Marg, where it was immersed with the help of a huge crane. The last journey of the idol began at 8.18 a.m. Thousands of devotees turned up for the last puja at the pandal and also at the lake.
"The biggest Ganesh idol, the Khairatabad Ganesh, was finally immersed What an herculean task executed with absolute precision Kudos to the organizers, technicians , crane operators and all stakeholder government departments," tweeted Additional Commissioner of Police Shikha Goel.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar, Cyberabad Police Commissioner Stephen Ravindra, and Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwath inspected the immersion processions at various places.
The mammoth procession has brought 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 installed 330 cranes of various capacities at 33 lakes and 25 special ponds created for immersion.
A total of 40 cranes have been deployed for immersion at Hussain Sagar. The decks for immersion in this lake were cleared after the Supreme Court allowed the immersion of idols made of plaster of Paris for this year.
Earlier, the Telangana High Court had refused to allow immersion of idols of plaster of Paris and had rejected the plea of the GHMC for modifying its orders, saying it can't allow pollution of the lake.
The GHMC had then 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.
The GHMC pressed into service 20 excavators, 21 earth-movers, 39 mini tippers and 44 vehicles with 10 tonnes of capacity to remove waste after immersion.
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. GHMC distributed free masks among devotees.
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 organise 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 Secundrabad on the intervening night of September 19-20 (between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.).
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.