Mumbai’s famous Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshotsav will not be celebrated this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the festival organisers said on Wednesday. This is for the first time in Lalbaugcha Raja’s 86-year history.

Coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to a halt with people forced to stay inside all across the globe. The Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshotsav Mandal has decided to use the same area of land for a blood donation and COVID-19 awareness camp.

“We have decided to not celebrate the Ganesh festival this year. We are going to celebrate it as a health festival. This decision has been taken in view of the pandemic. In those 10 days, we will organise a blood donation camp and an awareness camp to promote plasma donation,” Sudhir Salvi, secretary of the Lalbaug Mandal, said as quoted by NDTV.

The organising committee secretary added that the trust will donate Rs 25 lakh to the Chief Minister’s Fund and felicitate the families of martyred policemen and armymen.

“We will also felicitate the families of policemen and armymen who gave their lives for the country. We are also donating Rs 25 lakh to the Chief Minister’s Fund for fighting the pandemic,” Salvi added.

Salvi assured Moneycontrol that “the next Ganesh Chaturthi celebration will be in September 2021 for Lalbaugcha Raja”.

Not just the festival, but also there won’t be an idol and its immersion this year.

“Lalbaug Raja is our deity and there is no doubt about it, but the Raja himself wants his people to be healthy. Therefore, there will be no idol and immersion this year,” an organising committee official told India Today.

Maharashtra has so far reported 1,74,761 cases of coronavirus with Mumbai being the hotspot.