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from daijiworld's special correspondent

Panaji, Aug 20: For many, home sickness is at its peak, this time around of the year!
Come Ganesh Chaturthi and lacs of Goans and Konkanis, who are forced to leave their native to eke out living, are looking eagerly to come back home. It's time to scream ``Ganapati Bappa Morya"
Ganesh Chaturthi, commonly known as Chovoth here, a 10-day-long- festival, will start on August 27.
It's time for many to pack their bags and keep thought of work and making profits, back of their mind. Keenness   to meet their near and dear ones back home, is making them homesick.

So from this week onwards, thousands and lakhs will throng to their native. In Goa, elaborate arrangements are in place to transport in and take back the crowd which will be thronging natives in Goa and Konkan to celebrate the 10-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival worshipping elephant-headed God.
The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) will be plying additional trains from Mumbai and Ahmadabad for the convenience of the passengers and bookings are already open for these special trains, KRCL officials said.

``Each train would be bringing in 1,200 passengers per trip one way through its 18-coaches which includes couple of three-tier air conditioned coaches," stated KRCL public relation manager, Baban Ghatge.

The trains, which will start plying from August 23, will continue till first week of September bringing in and taking back scores of Goans and people from Konkan region, Ghatge added.

The Ganesh Chaturthi festival attains importance in this region as Ganesh Idol is worshipped in almost every Hindu house. "We are not plying additional buses to Mumbai as KRCL is meeting requirement of that route. We have planned special buses between Goa to konkan region like Malvan, Vengurla besides additional buses between Goa-Bangalore route," stated Kadamba transport corporation's managing director Srikant Naik.

Unofficial figures reveal that around 2 lakh Goans are outside the state and majority of them visit back home during the festival. Different sizes Ganesh idols are already lined up in various shops in cities and villages alike. The state government has banned the sale of plaster of paris Ganesh Idols, though, scarcity of Clay-idols have let the plaster of paris idols surface in the market.

"There is a vagueness about the ban. We have asked state government authorities to ban the sale of environment degrading plaster of paris idols," stated Nikhil Desai, managing director, Goa Handicrafts and Rural Artisans development corporation, a semi-government body.

The corporation, itself, has taken initiatives and allowed clay-idol making artisans to display the idols through various emporiums. "At present, we are having one thousand odd clay-idols displayed at our emporiums," Desai stated.

Goa, though a tiny state, needs around 30,000 Ganesh idols, which are subsequently immersed in the water. Offficials admit that lack of clay-idols have punctured state government's ban on plaster of paris idols. "We can't enforce the ban and create shortage during the festive season. If such things happens, there will be panick," officials stated. 


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