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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar/Cuttack: Following an inspection in the silver city, Police Commissioner Sudhanshu Sarangi reportedly informed that the height of idols at Durga Puja pandals during Dussehra celebrations this year would not exceed 4-ft, as decided by the State government earlier.

The decision comes after the Orissa High Court refused to intervene on the government's directive and left for the police to decide on the matter.

The state government had restricted the height of idols to 4-ft, following which at least 25 puja committees of Cuttack moved the High Court. However, during inspection, Sarangi found that 142 of the 162 puja committees in Cuttack are yet to begin construction of idols.

However, around 2-4 committees have come up with idols more than 4-ft tall, which is against the stipulated rules. “Giving them permission will be disrespectful for others, so it was collectively decided to limit the height of idols to 4-ft, which would be suitable for all the mandaps,” he said after verifying the status of idol construction at various pandals.

Usually, idols of more than seven feet in height are worshipped at the community puja pandals. After a massive public outcry over the government’s decision on the height restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the puja committees moved the Orissa High Court seeking judicial intervention to relax the government restrictions imposed. They cited that work for making idols began much before the government order. Already several gold and silver ornaments for the deities have been made, and altering the height of the idols at this stage would render these useless, they said. However the High Court while pronouncing its verdict refused to intervene and asked the police to inspect the puja pandals, verify the status and allow the committee to go ahead with the celebrations if everything is in order.

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