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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar/Jajpur: In what could be an indication of things to expect this festive season, community celebration of Ganesh Puja has been restricted in the Twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar this year in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.

No mandaps in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack will be allowed to conduct puja as restriction on religious congregation has already been imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The information was shared through a tweet from the Commissionerate Police that read, “In view of COVID-19 pandemic there're restrictions on large religious congregations. So, no permission has been given to Puja Mandaps to celebrate Ganesh Puja at community level.”

Citing cancellation of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai as an example, the Commissionerate Police sought cooperation from the public and said, “Even Ganapati festival in Mumbai isn't taking place this year. All are requested to cooperate.”

Not only in the twin-city, increasing COVID-19 caseload in the district of Jajpur has forced the district administration to cancel community celebration of Ganesh Puja in the district. Going a step further, Jajpur administration has even barred educational institutions like schools and colleges from holding Puja on their premises.

Clarifying the order, Ranjan Kumar Das, the Jajpur Collector said, “The decision has been taken to prevent congregation of large crowd in mandaps. However, people are free to celebrate puja from the confines of their homes.”

The decision has been welcomed by many Puja committees. “As per the administration’s order, it has been decided that celebration will be limited to only ‘Ghata Puja’ with the presence of one Brahman,” said Prafulla Sahani, member of Badabazar Ganesh Puja Committe in Jaraka, Jajpur.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Centre and the Odisha government have issued clear instructions and guidelines which prohibit social gatherings with a provision for action.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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