Bhubaneswar: Ganesh Chaturthi festival began across Odisha on Friday morning with less pomp and more vigour amid COVID-19 restrictions.
For the second year in a row, the coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to large-scale celebrations for devotees in most parts of the country.
The educational institutions that were not allowed for holding Ganesh Puja last year due to pandemic are observing the festival this year with adherence to Covid-19 protocols. The maximum number of participants will be 20 and all will have to adhere to COVID-19 protocol. No feast/ prasad sevan will be allowed. The Head of the educational/ coaching institute shall ensure that those above 18 years of age are fully vaccinated to be present on this occasion.
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) have issued guidelines for Ganesh Puja celebrations. Congregation on the occasion of Ganesh Puja shall not be allowed in public within BMC jurisdiction. The Puja Committees/Organizers can conduct Ganesh Puja at Mandaps/Pandals by adopting all COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing, wearing masks, proper sanitization etc. for which they have to obtain permission from the Officer duly authorized by the Commissioner of Police.
At any point of time, there shall be not more than 7 persons allowed including the organizers/ priests/ Kartas/ support staff etc. at the Pandal/ Mandap. And all those present shall have to follow strict COVID-19 protocols like social distancing, wearing masks appropriately etc. The organizers shall ensure that only those who have been fully vaccinated are allowed for the observance of puja.
There shall be no immersion procession by the organizers. The idols will be immersed in artificial ponds to be created by the BMC for this purpose.