Maharashtra’s Ganpati mandals donate Rs 7.5 crore for education

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It doesn’t happen often that the money collected during a religious festival is donated to a charity. In a first-of-its-kind initiative, Ganpati mandals in Maharashtra have donated nearly Rs 7.5 crore, that is, 10 per cent of the amount collected from public as vargani, for the education of underprivileged children.

There are over 1 lakh Ganpati mandals in the state. Of them, two mandals – Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal and Pune’s Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Mandal have given Rs 4 crore and Rs 1.62 crore respectively. The money has been contributed to the charity commission which along with Ganpati mandals will now determine criteria and identify children in need of education in a couple of months. Children selected are likely to be provided assistance from Class I to graduation.

“Vargani collected by the Mandals used to be spent during the festival but this is something which will benefit society in the long run. Even though it was the first time, the amount contributed is still huge and is expected to increase every year. The children will be identified by the mandals from their area as their members have contacts at the grassroots level. Various mandals undertake various programmes as social responsibility yet they need a boost. I feel such an initiative will help a family for years,” state charity commissioner Shivkumar Dige is quoted to have said in a report published in Pune Mirror. Dige is the brain behind this unique initiative.

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