Lord Ganesha gets insurance cover of Rs 45 crore!
Lord Ganesha, who begins his annual ten-day sojourn to cities in Maharashtra on Wednesday, would be suitably insured against mishaps, and mischiefs of people he protects.
Large pandals and social groups hosting the elephant god have increased their insurance cover many times over to protect the elephant Lord and his devotees from theft, burglary, fire, terror attacks and even earthquakes.
The insurance cover for Lalbaugcha Raja, the celebrity deity of Central Mumbai, has gone up to Rs 45 crore this year from Rs 15 crore last year. GSB Seva Mandal, Sion has applied for an insurance cover worth Rs 235 crore from Oriental Insurance, while Mumbaicha Raja, Ganeshgalli, has increased its insurance from Rs 1.9 crore last year to over Rs 3 crore this year.
Indemnity cover for large Ganpati pandals like Khetwadicha Raja, Vile Parlecha Peshwa and Andhericha Raja have risen 50-150% over the past one year, said general insurers and trustees of various Mumbai-based pandals.
"We've widened the insurance cover, considering the large crowd coming for darshan during the festival," said Ashok Mathur, a trustee member of Lalbaugcha Raja Committee, a pandal that attracts 1.5 lakh devotees every day during the ten-day festival.
Lalbaugcha Raja, insured by New India Assurance, has sought a cover worth Rs 25 crore for devotees, Rs 3 crore for stage and mandap, Rs 10 crore third party cover and Rs 7 crore for the idol.
But GSB Seva Mandal, Sion, which many consider as the richest Ganpati mandal in the country, has raced past Lalbaugcha Raja, and has asked for a personal accident cover worth Rs 182 crore, public liabilities cover worth Rs 20 crore, insurance cover for gold and silver offerings worth Rs 20.28 crore and insurance cover for pandal (also tracking earthquake as risk) at Rs 1 crore.
"For us, claim charges (if any) could be as high as Rs 10 lakh for over 1,800 devotees. We've asked for a comprehensive human and material cover this time," said a trustee member of GSB Seva Mandal. “Our pandal is designed to accommodate over 5,000 devotees at any given point of time, which increases the risk considerably. Also, devotees give gold and silverware as offerings, the value of which could easily run up to Rs 35-40 crore," the GSB trustee said. He however, declined to disclose the premium paid to Oriental Insurance.
Offerings at most Ganesh pandals have been insured against theft, burglary and fire. Popular pandals like Lalbaugcha Raja and GSB Seva Mandal could receive donations between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 8 crore in cash, 1-2 kg of gold offerings and about 15-20 kg of silver offerings. There are devotees who donate vehicles (mostly SUVs as rath or chariot) for the lord as well.
- Asian Tribune -