With the festive season around the corner, the Berhampur Municipality Corporation (BeMC), on Tuesday, has released a set of new guidelines imposing restrictions on Durga Puja and Diwali celebrations.
According to sources, the civic body has come up with guidelines fearing a possible spread of Covid-19 during Durga Puja and Diwali celebrations.
The Durga Puja will be celebrated from October 13 to October 15, 2021. Hence, any congregation for the celebration of the festival including associated religious and cultural congregation shall not be allowed in public within BeMC jurisdiction.
"It is hereby directed that congregation for the celebration of Durga Puja and cultural congregations shall not be allowed in public within BeMC area," a notification issued by the civic body read.
As per the latest BeMC notification, the citizens are allowed to observe Durga Puja and Dussehra festival in their premises without causing any congregation at any place. Along with that, they have to maintain all protocols, including social distancing, wearing masks and proper sanitisation while conducting the puja.
For Puja Committees/Organisers, the civic body has laid out some instructions to conduct Durga Puja in Mandaps/Pandals.
As stated in the letter:
1. Puja(s) shall be conducted in indoor-like conditions only for observance of rituals without public participation, pomp and grandeur.
2. The Puja Pandals/Mandaps shall have to be covered on three sides. The 4th side shall also be covered in a way not to allow any public view of the idols, so as to not allow any public view/darshan of the idols by devotees.
3. The Idol size shall be less than 4Ft.
4. There shall be no use of public address systems.
5. At any given point of time, there shall not be more than 5 persons including organisers (Kartas) and priests and support staff present in the Puja Pandal/Mandap.
6. The persons present at Puja Pandal/ Mandap shall follow all Covid protocols of social distancing, mask use, personal hygiene and sanitation issued by Central/ State government/Local Administration in letter and spirit.
7. There shall be no immersion procession. The idols will be immersed in the artificial pond(s) created by the local administration for the purpose.
8. There shall be no religious procession of any kind of any religious community.
9. No community feast associated with any puja/ festival during the period shall be allowed.
10. The organiser/ Puja committee members having 2nd dose vaccination certificate/ RT-PCR negative report are allowed for rituals. Also, it is mandatory to submit 2nd dose vaccination certificate of Organisers while applying for permission.
11. Necessary NOC from SDM, Berhampur, Police Authority, Fire department, and TPSODL should be submitted for granting permission.
12. For any other deviation in the above guidelines, Puja Committee Member will be held completely responsible.
Meanwhile, the civic body has also banned the sale and use of firecrackers in the festival month along with organising the Dandia night celebration.
"With a view to protecting the health of general public and to curb the spread of infection, sale and use of firecrackers shall remain prohibited during this festival month," the letter notified, adding, "Navaratri Dandia night celebration will not be allowed at any places within BeMC area. Penal and legal actions will be taken against the organisers and owner of the land/ building," the notification said.