Ramakanta Biswas

The Odisha government on Monday announced that Holi and their related festivities shall not be observed in public places throughout the State while releasing the Covid guidelines for the month of March. 

"People may celebrate 'Holi' with family members in their houses only and not in any public places including public roads. Collectors and Municipal Commissioners may impose any further restrictions as desirable in consideration of local situations," the order released by the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) stated.

The SRC order said during celebration of Dola Pumima, people shall ensure Covid appropriate behaviour such as physical distancing, use of face mask/covering and handwashing/ hand sanitiser. It added that religious rituals are allowed with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

"Collectors and Municipal Commissioners may impose appropriate restriction if required in Dola Melan. Also, they shall determine the number of participants in these gatherings with strict adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour and norms. Further mela/congregations outside/within the temple premises may also be reasonably restricted so as to avoid mass gatherings/crowding. The devotees in these places must ensure Covid-19 safety protocols such as wearing of face masks, physical distancing and handwashing /hand sanitiser," the order stated. 

"Considering local conditions, District Magistrates/ Municipal Commissioners/ Police Commissioner, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack may impose appropriate restrictions on the entry of devotees into temples/ churches/mosques/religious places/ places of worship and in the celebrations in temples/churches/mosques/ religious places/ places of worship. Collectors/ Municipal Commissioners may decide the number of persons to attend any religious ritual/ festival/Puja in their respective jurisdictions with strict adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour and norms," it added.