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Mrunal Manmay Dash

After a subdued Durga Puja for last two years, the Odisha capital is all set for a grand festive season this year.

Following a coordination meeting at the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday, Mayor Sulochana Das revealed that Bhubaneswar will host 178 Durga puja tableaus this year, which is more than Cuttack’s and the cultural programmes in puja pandals will be allowed till midnight as against till 10pm last year.

announcement came on the backdrop of Ganesh puja immersions which concluded in the Twin Cities on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters, Das said, “By God’s grace the pandemic of Covid has subsided and we are on for a grand puja celebration this year. People are overexcited this year and that reflects on the number of tableaus received permission.”

As far as the Covid guidelines are concerned, Das said, “Though we do not have any mandatory Covid restrictions, we however would request all stakeholders and devotees to maintain the basic Covid hygiene and at least wear a mask while venturing out.”

It was also decided in the meeting that all the potholes under the BMC will be filled and repaired before puja.

BMC Commissioner Vijay Amruta Kulange who headed the meeting said, “Today’s meeting was to discuss ways to conduct a hassle-free puja.”

“We will coordinate with all the puja committees to ensure cleanliness around the pandal. Drinking water and toilet facility will also be ensured during Puja. Each puja committee will appoint a nodal person who will be responsible for this.”

The BMC also invited the power distribution company (TPCODL) and PWD officials to make sure no electrical short circuit or fire mishaps occur during the puja.

“Teams have been formed with several food safety inspectors to check hotel kitchens, sweet shops and fast food counters proactively for any adulteration or sub standard food,” Kulange said.

As far as the immersion is concerned, the BMC will create 4-5 temporary ponds in Bhubaneswar in which all the puja committees will have to immerse their idols. Any deviation from the norms will be dealt strictly, informed Kulange.

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