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Rukuna Rath Festival: BMC Issues Fresh Guidelines, Only Covid Negative Sevayats Allowed

Bhubaneswar: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday issued detailed guidelines for the upcoming Ashokastami Car Festival of Lord Lingaraj at Bhubaneswar, to be observed on April 20.

The guidelines were issued following a high-level meeting among relevant stakeholders of the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar today. Senior BMC official said that the entire festival will be celebrated with strict observance of the present Covid-19 protocols.

As per the guidelines, all Sevayats shall have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR tests 48 hours before the Car Festival and Return Car Festival. Only those Sevayats testing negative for Covid-19 can participate in the festival. Moreover, no devotee will be allowed to participate in the pulling of the chariot.

Here are the guidelines:

– No devotees will be allowed to participate in the car festival as well as return car festival.

-Only Sevayats will be allowed to conduct the car festival and return car festival.

-The temple authorities to coordinate with BMC for sanitization of the Rath (Car) before putting to use.

– All Sevayats shall have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR testing before 48 hours of day of Car Festival and Return Car Festival. Only those Sevayats coming out negative can participate in the festival.

-Sebayats who are allowed for festival with negative RT-PCR reports shall have to use masks during the festival and maintain social distancing as per COVID Protocol.

-The temple authorities to ensure thermal screening of Sevayats on daily basis before allowing them for participation and also make provision for hand sanitization.

-Other activities like food vendors/Meena bazaars/cultural functions and other kinds are strictly prohibited as it will lead to gathering and un-hygienic environment.

– Burning of fire crackers during car procession or any other moments are strictly prohibited.

-Spitting during the festival and chewing of PAN /Gutkha is strictly prohibited.

-Sebayats with SARI / ILI like symptoms shall not be allowed to participate in the festival.

-The guidelines mentioned above shall be followed scrupulously by all concerned. Any deviation will entail individual action as well as revoking this permission.

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