- Ganesh Chaturthi, Moharram will begin from August 22, 20 respectively
- Ganesh Chaturthi and Moharram often involves large public gatherings
- Setting up of Ganesh idols in public places is not allowed
New Delhi: “Two months ago, in June, the coronavirus was widespread in Delhi and everyone was scared. I won’t say that we have won the war against COVID-19, we still have a long way to go, but the current situation is way better than what it was two months ago”, said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on August 15. From reporting over 3,000 fresh cases of COVID-19 every day in late June to now reporting less than 1,500 cases of COVID-19, Delhi seems to have flattened the curve. However, the virus still prevalent and so on Sunday (August 16), the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) issued guidelines to the District Magistrates (DMs) ahead of forthcoming festivals – Ganesh Chaturthi and Moharram. This year, the first night of Moharram will begin from August 20 and Ganesh Chaturthi starts on August 22.
The order issued by DDMA bans all public celebrations on Ganesh Chaturthi and processions on Moharram. According to the guidelines, neither idol of Lord Ganesha shall be setup in any of the tent/pandal/public places, nor shall any kind of permission be granted for procession.
The DDMA has asked the District Magistrates to encourage and advise the public to celebrate the festival at their home amid COVID-19 pandemic.
District Magistrates and District DCPs (Deputy Commissioner of Police) shall convene meetings with religious or community leaders before every such festival or occasion which has the possibility of large gathering or congregation, to get their cooperation to maintain the law and order and harmony and also to sensitise public for compliance of the guidelines issued for combating COVID-19 by the government from time to time, read the instructions undersigned by Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev.
DDMA has also ordered to deploy sufficient police force in all communally sensitive areas and in containment zones across the national capital.
It should be ensured that crowd does not gather in any religious or social place in any manner, instructs DDMA.
Delhi Pollution Control Committee Bans Idol Immersion At Public Places
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi culminates with the immersion of Lord Ganesha’s idol in a river or water body which involves large public gatherings. This year, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has prohibited the immersion of idols. Violation of the guideline will attract a fine of Rs. 50,000.
Last year, the Delhi government had created artificial ponds at public places for people to immerse idols on Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja.
Idol immersion in artificial ponds, too, is not allowed this time as large gatherings will increase the risk of virus transmission, a DPCC official said, as quoted by a news agency PTI.
Along with this, idol makers and sellers have been directed to use natural materials like traditional clay to make idols instead of baked clay and plaster of Paris. DPCC is also discouraging the use of paints, colours and dyes in the making of idols as these contain hazardous chemicals like mercury, zinc oxide, chromium, lead and cadmium.
DDMA Orders To Ensure Safety During Festivals
The District Magistrates have been asked to make all necessary arrangements for checking during the festivals at all public places, bus stands railway stations, and sensitive and religious places in the city.
The DDMA has also emphasised on providing important public facilities like electricity, water, hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation in the national capital.
All the government hospitals have been directed to be prepared in advance to deal with any emergent situation and doctors, para-medical staff shall be on duty round-the-clock.
All empowered authorities may resort to imposing fines for violating the directives or guidelines and offences pertaining to social distancing, wearing of mask or face cover, spitting in public places and others. All enforcement authorities, field functionaries should be properly briefed about strict implementation of the instructions, one day before every festival or event, states the order.
Delhi Disaster Management Authority issues instructions to Dist Magistrates ahead of forthcoming festivals, in the wake of #COVID19. During Ganesh Chaturthi, no idol of Lord Ganesha to be set up in public places. No permission to be granted for procession during Moharram. pic.twitter.com/2sF18vGwER
— ANI (@ANI) August 16, 2020
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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