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Friday, August 30, 2013

At 625, city sees highest number of Govinda injuries in recent years

Mumbai: This year, the city saw the highest number of dahi handi injuries in the recent past. A total of 625 injured govindas were admitted to city hospitals and many of them will not even be able to move for the next few months. 
    Among the seriously injured is Shashikant Mane. The 24-year-old has suffered paralysis in all four limbs (quadriplegia) due to a spinal cord injury. He sustained the injury when the human pyramid he was a part of collapsed. He was on the fourth tier and has been participating in the event for six to seven years, said his friends. 
    "Our mandal usually breaks dahi handis in Vasai and Virar. This time, we were invited by a mandal in Thane, where this unfortunate incident took place. Mane can't move his limbs," said his friend Satyajeet Morya. 
    Similarly, Ashish Kerkan, (24) has also been left paraplegic after he fell from the second tier of a human pyramid and many others fell on him. 
    Doctors said that though the number of cases was very high, most of the injuries were manageable. By Friday, 566 of the injured were sent home after they were given treatment on OPD basis. 
    "The quantum of the injuries is less this time," said Dr Pradeep Bhonsale, head of orthopaedics at civic-run KEM Hospital, where the maximum number of injured govindas are taken every year. "Most of the patients had minor injuries or fracture. We put casts and sent them home. There are three cases of 
spine injuries and two of the patients have suffered paralysis in the limbs. But unlike previous years, when the injuries were irreversible, the prognosis looks good this year," he said adding that there is 100% chance that all the injured govindas will regain all their functions completely. 
Panel proposed to safeguard govindas' interests 

    The parent body of Ganpati mandals has volunteered to form a coordination committee for dahi handi mandals. 
    Naresh Dahibawkar, president of the Mumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, said, "Dahi handi mandals get a raw deal because they do not have an umbrella organization that can convey their problems 
to the authorities. Should they seek guidance to address issues of fatal and non-fatal injuries, or perhaps payment, we are willing to help them form a coordination committee." 
    Dahibawkar had led a dahi handi mandal from 1978-89. At the time, the traditional processions were led through Girgaum and the height of the human pyramid was restricted. 
    This year, political organizers across Mumbai and Thane claimed they did not wish to encourage reckless competition. Sanskruti in 
Thane and Sankalp in Worli declined to announce cash awards ostensibly because smaller mandals try to form tall pyramids. But Sanskruti awarded Rs 11 lakh each to two winners who achieved nine tiers, Rs 5 lakh to female govindas and Rs 50,000 to all those who made sixlayer pyramids. This year too, hundreds of govindas suffered falls and are in hospitals. Geeta Zagade, who heads women govindas of Parle Sports Club, says, "Sixteen women gymnasts from one mandal were injured. Despite organizers' claims that they arrange insurance, govindas pay for treatment themselves." 
- Bella Jaisinghani 
Total injuries this year 625 
Discharged after treatment 566 
Still admitted 59


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