Rashmi Rekha Das

After a break of two years, Bhubaneswar is all set to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with a fanfare on August 31. Though the civic body has eased covid norms for Ganesh puja celebrations this year, it has urged devotees to visit the pandals with covid precautionary measures. 

“This year there will be no covid restriction for devotees. They can visit pandals and worship. Though the covid restrictions will not be there, we would request devotees to take precautionary measures like wearing masks and using sanitisers for their safety," said Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation Commissioner Bijay Amrut Kulange.

Also, the BMC will come up with temporary ponds at Kuakhai and Daya riverbanks for the immersion of Ganesh idols as part its measures to minimise pollution of riverbeds. 

Kulange further said, “Ganesh puja will be held at 50 puja mandaps in the state capital. All these idols will be immersed in the ponds created on the riverbanks of Kuakhai and Daya rivers so that we can prevent rivers from getting polluted.”

Last year, BMC had said no to public participation during the Ganesh celebrations. As per the guidelines, congregations during the festival were not allowed within the BMC jurisdiction. The organisers were asked to follow Covid-19 norms, such as social distancing, wearing of masks and sanitisation.

The organisers will also need to take permission from the officer concerned, authorised by the Commissioner of Police.