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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

While the entire world is on high alert with the rising cases of highly contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus, it seems many people are least bothered to follow the safety protocols. 

Two such worrying incidents have come to the fore in Odisha in which hundreds of people were seen blatantly throwing the COVID guidelines to the wind. 

Even though the Odisha government is stressing strict compliance with safety protocols to contain the spread of COVID, hundreds of people gathered at the state-wide 'Pallishree Mela' held at Khallikote university's ground in Berhampur on Thursday evening.

The crowd violated the restrictions of social distancing and assembled at the event for celebration. Moreover, most of the people among the crowd were found without masks. 

It seemed, everyone present at the event including the locals, organiser as well as administrative officials were least bothered about following the COVID norms. A huge crowd was seen thronging the place throughout the event and were dancing to the popular music. Moreover, people were seen swarming near the food stalls on the ground flouting the restrictions.

Serious concerns have been raised over such massive violation of COVID norms while the State government, as well as the Central government, are stepping up the efforts to battle the steep rise in Omicron as well as COVID cases. 

Only two days back, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had urged everyone to follow the COVID measures strictly and mass violation of the norms in Ganjam district at the event has raised concerns. Such an irresponsible activity a day after the CM's address has invited sharp criticisms on social media.

However, the reaction of the organisers over the incident and allegations of mass violation of COVID norms couldn't be obtained.

In a similar incident in Cuttack's Ravenshaw University, students were seen carelessly flouting the COVID norms during the Annual Athletic Meet held at the varsity campus. Students were seen breaching the safety norms on Wednesday in the presence of lecturers and faculty. It seemed everyone was least bothered about following the guidelines amid the rising COVID cases.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University was also present along with lecturers and students at the event.

Questions have been raised over how students were allowed to gather at the event in such a large number. However, the response of the University's management couldn't be obtained over the matter.

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