NEW DELHI, September 9, 2013 (India Today): As the 10-day Ganesh festival begins with great fervor across Maharashtra on Monday, new initiatives, rules and celebrations await the city. From regulations to mandals (temporary road-side temples) on the quality of prasad and fatter insurance covers to a growing demand for eco-friendly Deities, this year's Ganesh Chaturthi and the festivities will have something new. Among them:
Artisans and stores have been stocking up on eco-friendly clay Deities that dissolve within minutes of immersion
-In Pune, a 12,000-strong team of security personnel, including 8,500 city policemen, home guards and SRPF will be deployed during the 10 day period to watch over the devotees
-Mumbai's biggest mandals have taken multi-crore insurance covers for the 10 day festival until all the ornaments and offerings are carefully put away. The GSB Seva Mandal, known to be the wealthiest in the city, has taken an insurance cover of Rs.223.35 crore (US$ 35 million) followed by the revered Lalbaugcha Raja at Rs.51 crore (US$8 million).
-The Food and Drug Administration has directed all mandals to keep records of the place from where the Prasad or sweets for distribution are bought. This is done to hold the producers accountable and ensure the food is made in a hygienic manner