In the light of the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival, the ongoing pandemic and related movement restrictions, the Marathi news channel ABP Majha launched a special donation drive initiative called ‘Be a Vighnaharta’ (Be a Remover of Obstacles).

The initiative, in collaboration with UNICEF, will raise funds through a 16-day TV campaign to support the people affected by the pandemic. The funds raised will be used to support vulnerable families, through UNICEF’s Jeevan Rath initiative (A Relief and Response on Wheels) in the state of Maharashtra. The initiative will bring over 60 public and private NGOs together, to provide supplies of dry ration kits, hygiene kits, conditional cash transfers, and livelihood protection to people who are unable to afford or access these supplies in sufficient quantities.

To contain the pandemic in Maharashtra, all pandals/temples have been advised to maintain social distancing norms, hold limited congregations, and reduce the size of the idols, during the 11-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival. While these measures are critical from a public health perspective, this has ripple effects on the earnings of the craftsmen and other associated small businesses who depend on the annual festival for their livelihood.

ABP Majha started to run the campaign on the 6th of August 2020 until the 21st of August 2020. The news channel will broadcast 1,350+ minutes of content including stories of people affected by the pandemic, urging viewers to donate and help reach supplies to families affected by the pandemic.

ABP Majha has been bringing the essence of ‘Ganesh Utsav’ on TV, since 2010, with on-air and on-ground coverage on its show Bappa Majha. The channel garnered the top spot in both market share & viewership during the Ganesh Chaturthi period last year in the Marathi news genre. (SOURCE: Period: 2nd Sept 2019-12thSept 2019, TB: 02:00-26:00, Market: Mah/Goa, TG: 15+ ABC).

In 2020, the channel has lined-up special programming for the festive month which includes shows like – Bappa Tumchya Ghari, Majha Vighnaharta, Bappa Majha (Ganapti news bulletin, Pooja, Majha Bappa, Ashtavinayak Yatra), along with telecasting Donation Drive snippets throughout the day. Live broadcasts of morning and evening Aartis (prayers) will also be aired on the news channel so that viewers can celebrate the festival from home.

Avinash Pandey, CEO of ABP Network.

On the special donation drive, Mr. Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP Network, said, “As a responsible network, we are taking up this initiative as a part of our continuous work in community upliftment. We are committed to making available immediate aid to children and families affected by the pandemic ahead of the biggest festival of India’s financial capital. Festivals are all about vibrancy and high spirits, and during this time, we want to uplift the lives and spirits of low-income groups whose earnings depend on Ganapati celebrations. We hope this effort will help them lead better lives.”

On partnering with ABP Majha, Ms. Rajeshwari Chandrasekar, UNICEF Chief of Maharashtra office, said, “We are glad to associate with ABP Majha news channel for our initiative ‘Jeevan Rath’ in Maharashtra, running for the last 110 days. The socio-economic cost of the pandemic on the lives of children and their families is extremely high. Through this campaign, we intend to provide relief to the most vulnerable, excluded, and displaced populations in the fight against Covid-19.”