The mammoth Ganesh procession was underway in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana amid tight security on Tuesday, marking the culmination of the 11-day festivities.
Thousands of idols of different sizes and different avatars’ from various parts of Hyderabad and outskirts were being carried for immersion in Hussain Sagar, the lake which divides the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
The idols were also being immersed in lakes and water bodies in different parts of the city and outskirts.
About 15 lakh people were expected to join the immersion processions, including the main processions, as over 27,000 security personnel have been deployed to maintain peace.
In a departure from the past, the tallest idol installed every year at Khairatabad was the first to begin its journey towards Hussain Sagar. Huge cranes were deployed for immersion of the 57-foot-tall idol.
During the previous years, the tallest idol used to be the last to begin its journey for immersion and the process used to stretch on to the next day. Police this time persuaded the organisers to start the procession early for smooth conduct of the immersion.
Authorities have deployed 159 cranes, including 51 static cranes, at 23 water bodies for immersion. At Hussain Sagar, where 5,000 idols are expected to be immersed, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) along with other departments has arranged 27 cranes.
Greater Hyderabad Mayor B. Rammohan said about 6,000 idols were immersed till Monday in the special immersion ponds set up by the GHMC at a cost of Rs 21 crore to avoid pollution in Hussain Sagar and facilitate early completion of the ceremony.
Officials said nearly 26,000 idols were installed this year in and around Hyderabad and nearly half of them were already immersed. For the first time, the police geo-tagged the idols to ensure smooth conduct of the immersion.
About 95,000 idols were registered with the police across Telangana. Telangana Director General of Police Anurag Sharma said that elaborate security arrangements had been made in Hyderabad and other towns in the state to maintain law and order.
Massive security arrangements were in place in Hyderabad. Over 27,000 security personnel, including those drawn from central paramilitary forces, were deployed.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner M. Mahender Reddy said they were monitoring the processions through 15,000 CCTV cameras and 800 video cameras. In addition to this, the top cop will conduct an aerial survey.
As the main procession passes through the communally sensitive old city, the police were keeping a tight vigil on the route, especially at the historic Makkah Masjid near Charminar. The main control room to monitor the procession has been set up near Charminar.
As many as 16 bomb disposal teams were also pressed into service. Personnel of elite anti-Maoist force Greyhounds and anti-terror unit OCTOPUS were also kept on stand-by for any emergency.