The 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival, usually celebrated with great splendor across Maharashtra, began last Friday amid several strict restrictions imposed by the authorities.
For the second year in a row, the state celebrated a modest Ganeshotsav festival without loud processions or huge gatherings. The Mumbai police enacted Section 144 of the CrPc prohibiting a meeting of five or more people between September 10 to 19. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also issued restrains, prohibiting processions during the festival, to prevent the outspread of the COVID-19. Devotees are not allowed to visit public pandals physically, as only online ‘darshan’ or ‘pandal telecasts’ were authorized this year.
According to the guidelines issued by the BMC last week, a maximum of 10 people is allowed for immersion of the deity idols for public pandals and five for the household ones. All the participants in pandals are informed to complete 15 days after taking both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Purabh Sawant, the organizer for Mira-Bhayandar’s biggest Ganpati Mandal said, “We have set up virtual pandal-Darshana for our devotees this year. Even though the festivities won’t be the same, we will pray that Bappa relieves us of this pandemic.
Another public pandal manager, from Malad, Umesh Raut stated his decision to immerse their pandal idol in the ‘Desai Talao’, an artificial pond in Malad, in a venture to encourage other devotees to do the same. This year, the BMC has created 167 artificial ponds across the city for the submersion of deity idols.
A day just before the advent of the big extravaganza, the Mumbai Police had disclosed a YouTube video bidding the dwellers obey Covid-19 protocols. In the video, the Commissioner of Mumbai Police, Hemant Nagrale stated that, as the city has witnessed a spike in the COVID-19 cases in the last three days, citizens must refrain from undertaking any actions that might lead to its potential spread. He also added strict action would be carried out against those who won’t comply with the regulations under the relevant Indian Penal Code sections.
The immersion of deity idols or ‘Visarjans’ has been primarily hushed, across Mumbai and Maharashtra. The BMC had also set in niche rules for the height of deity idols allowed for public pandals and household idols as 4-feet and 2-feet respectively. The government has urged citizens to commemorate the occasion simply without glitz and glamour.
Dinesh Verma, a devotee from Nagpur who has brought in Ganpati at his home is not happy with the strict regulations, “The COVID-19 has now been going on for more than two years. The crux of the matter is we all have to learn to live with it. Ganeshotsav is the most awaited festival in the state, and restricting the festivities doesn’t seem like a good solution.”
On September 16, the state reported 3595 new cases of COVID-19 and 45 fatalities, steering the aggregate toll of new cases to 65,11,525 and the death toll to 1,38,322.
Image Credits- india.com
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