Covid-19: Odisha issues guidelines ahead of festivals season

Bhubaneshwar (Odisha), August 9 : The government of Odisha on Monday has issued orders for conducting puja in pandals in view of the forthcoming festive season in August, September, October, and November in adherence to Covid protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and ongoing Covid situation in the country.
The order stated, “In consideration to the festivals like Durga Puja, Ganesha Puja, Laxmi puja and other similar pujas that would take place in the coming months, the Disaster Management department of the state has decided that any celebration for the above-mentioned festivals shall not be allowed in the interest of the health of the general public.” However, religious rituals in respective religious places can take place in their usual way with a limited number of persons in adherence to strict Covid protocols.
“For conducting puja in the Pandals, the organizers shall apply for special permission from the District Management or any officer authorized for it. Puja pandals should be covered from three sides and also from the fourth side in a way that public interference should not be there. There shall be no darshan for the public of idols. Adding to this, the size of idols shall be less than four feet,” stated the order.
The order further added, “At any given point of time, not more than seven persons including the organizers should be present inside the puja place. Also, no feasting associated with any puja shall be allowed. All the people present inside the place should follow all Covid protocols as issued by the Central and state government.”
The administration has also forbidden the immersion process of idols in the water body. They may be immersed in the artificial pond created by the management.
“Considering the guidelines issued by the government, any person, if found violating this order, shall be punished under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act and other relevant laws,” as stated in the order.

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