Mrunal Manmay Dash

Keonjhar/Jagatsinghpur: As the country braces for a resurgence in COVID cases, two districts in Odisha-- Keonjhar and Jagatsinghpur-- on Wednesday, issued two different sets of guidelines for the celebration of Dola Jatra later this month.

The Jagatsinghpur district administration on Wednesday released an order, completely banning Holi celebrations in public places. However, it suggested partial restrictions for the observance of the Dola Melana (Jatra).

The order issued by the Jagatsinghpur district Collector stated "Religious rituals in temples and religious places will continue as usual with maximum 20 numbers of devotees/persons with strict adherence of COVID protocols. However, Celebrations of Holi on March 28 and 29 and their related rituals will not be allowed in public places throughout the district. People can celebrate Holi with family members in their houses but they will not be allowed on any public places including roads."

"As far as Dola Melana is concerned," the Collector said, "A maximum of 100 persons/devotees are allowed in the Dola Melana ground. Maximum six persons are allowed with each Dola Biman including the carriers, priest, light man. No procession with musical instruments, loudspeakers will be allowed at the Melana ground. No cultural function, mina bazaar will be allowed to operate on Melana grounds."

However, a similar but stricter order was issued by the Keonjhar district administration as well, banning public celebration of both Holi and Dola Melana.

"Congregation for celebration of  Dolayatra and associated religious and cultural congregations shall not be allowed in public throughout the District of Keonjhar," stated an order.

Devotees will not be allowed for darshan and to perform any rituals in the temple premises. Dola Melana will be allowed only inside temple premises without public participation. Only the temple priests and trustees (Not more than 10 persons) will be allowed to perform the rituals.

"People may celebrate 'Holi' with family members in their houses only. Any celebration of Holi in Public place is strictly prohibited," read the order.

Meanwhile, the Kandhamal district administration has put partial restrictions on Danda Nacha festival and ‘Meru Yatra'. Gathering of not more than 50 people are allowed at the festivals. Community feast, playing DJ system and open air theatres are banned in the district during the festival.