Vikash Sharma

The Odisha government on Tuesday released guidelines and other restrictions that will be promulgated across the State to check congregations during the upcoming festivals, including Makar Sankranti and Pongal.

In the guidelines issued by the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), it has been stated, “The State is now passing through a critical stage of Covid-19 pandemic due to resurgence of Covid-19 in some parts of the State and it is necessary to strictly adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols for containment of spread of the infection.”

Usually large numbers of people congregate at river banks, ghats, ponds, sea shore and at other water bodies to take holy bath and perform puja on the occasion on Makar Sankranti/ Pongal which will be observed on January 14, 2022.

“People are advised to perform the rituals/ puja on the occasion of Makar Sankranti/Pongal at home with family members only avoiding mass gatherings and adhering to the Covid-19 safety protocols such as physical distancing , use of face mask/covering and hand washing,” the guidelines read.

Here are the State government guidelines and restrictions:

- Congregations at river banks/ ghats/ ponds/ sea shore or near other water bodies to take bath on the occasion of Makar Sankranti/ Pongal and on the day following shall remain prohibited throughout the State.

- Organisation / celebration of Makar Mela is strictly prohibited.

- All religious places/ places of worship shall be closed for public on Makar Sankranti/ Pongal/ Makal Mela day(s). However religious rituals are allowed with bare minimum priests/ servitors and staff.

- Religious congregations/ celebrations are strictly prohibited.