Berhampur: Ganjam district in the past had emerged as one of the hotspots of coronavirus infections in Odisha. However, the district administration has been successful in controlling the spread of the disease by implementing the COVID-19 guidelines strictly. These days the number of daily new COVID-19 cases to emerge out of the district is quite low. Tuesday only 44 new COVID-19 cases were reported from Ganjam district.
Keeping this scenario in mind, officials of the district administration said Tuesday that community Durga Pujas will be allowed in the district. However, the organisers will have to strictly follow the guidelines issued by the administration.
Officials said that idols can have a maximum height of four feet for all community pujas. Public gatherings have been banned in all puja pandals and mandaps. Only seven persons of the organising committee including the priest can be present inside the pandal at one time.
The district administration directed the all puja committees to ensure persons present inside the pandals/mandaps must follow all COVID-19 protocols. Among them are wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing, personal hygiene and sanitation rules that have been issued by Central/State Government/Local Administration/Appropriate authority.
Even though puja rituals will be followed, public participation in all pandals has been banned. All immersion with processions and music will not be allowed. Cultural programmes and other events can be observed with certain restrictions.
District Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange said Tuesday that if COVID-19 rules are flouted, heavy fines will be imposed on the organising committee and legal action will be taken.
It should be stated here that the district administration had banned totally the organisation of community Ganesh Pujas in the month of August.