With Durga Puja only weeks away, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday issued guidelines which are in accordance with the comprehensive festival guidelines issued by the Odisha government on August 9, 2021.
The Durga Puja will be celebrated from October 11 to October 13, 2021. Hence, any congregation for celebration of the festival including associated religious and cultural congregation shall not be allowed in public within BMC jurisdiction, the latest notification read.
As per the BMC notification, the Puja Committees/Organisers can conduct Durga Puja in Mandaps/Pandals by adopting all COVID-19 protocols, including social distancing, wearing masks, proper sanitisation for which they have to obtain permission from the Officer duly authorized by the Commissioner of Police.
Here are the BMC guidelines:
1. Congregation for celebration of Durga Puja including associated religious and cultural congregation shall not be allowed in public within BMC jurisdiction. The Puja Committees / Organizers can conduct Durga Puja in Mandaps / Pandals by adopting all COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing. wearing masks, proper sanitization etc for which they have to obtain permission from the Officer duly authorized by the Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar.
2. The Puja shall be conducted in indoor like condition only for observance of rituals without any public participation, pomp and grandeur.
3. The Mandaps / Pandals shall have to be covered on three sides and one side to be opened only for the purpose of use by the priest for rituals. The fourth side should also be covered properly so as to not allow any public view/darshan of the idols by devotees.
4. The Idol size shall be less than 4Ft.
5. Public address system shall not be used during Puja or any other time during these Puja days.
6. At any point of time, there shall be not more than 7 persons allowed including the organizers/priests/Kartas/support staffs etc in the Pandal/Mandap. And all those present shall have to follow strict COVID-I9 protocols. The organizers shall ensure that only those who have been fully vaccinated are allowed for the observance of Puja.
7. There shall be no immersion procession by the organizers. The idols will be immersed in artificial ponds to be created by BMC for this purpose.
8. During the immersion maximum 10 number of person should be involved considering the fact that the size and weight of the idol has been limited this time. The Puja Committee should ensure that all those involved during immersion should be fully vaccinated and adhere to COVID appropriate behaviour at the time of conducting rituals for immersion
9. During the puja period, there shall not be conduct of any religious procession of any kind or musical or entertainment programme by either any public/group/club/puja committee etc.
10. The Puja Committee should inform their member to keep all permission/individual COVID Vaccination certificate handy and all times for inspection by enforcement agencies.