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Mumbai, Sep 15 : Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Friday announced a waiver of road toll tax to devotees travelling to the coastal Konkan region for the ensuing Ganeshotsav festival. The toll tax will be waived from September 16 till October 1, and shall be applicable on toll posts on the Mumbai-Goa National Highway, Mumbai-Bengaluru National Highway and other government roads going to the Konkan. Shinde has also directed the PWD officials to provide the toll exemptions and make other arrangements for the comfortable travel of lakhs of devotees who will throng the districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg for the 10-day festival. For the purpose, the vehicle owners would have to submit an exemption pass with full details to the Traffic Police, RTO, etc, which will provide stickers to avail the toll exemption even for the return journey. In another important move, the CM has directed that henceforth the Ganeshtsav mandals (associations) will need to obtain the permission for organising the celebrations only once in every five years. Shinde has said that all municipal corporations, councils, Nagar Panchayats and other local bodies would extend this facility to those mandals which have a good track record of adhering to all rules and regulations without facing any complaints for the past 10 years. This will benefit thousands of big and small mandals in the state, particularly those which have been organising Ganeshotsav for years or decades and some even for over a century, and help them plan better for the future. This year, Ganeshotsav celebrations will start from September 19 (Tuesday) and end on September 28 (Thursday) with the colourful immersion ceremonies of small, big and gigantic idols of Lord Ganesha, which attract millions of people, including domestic and international tourists in Mumbai, Pune, Konkan and other parts of the state. /IANS


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