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Maha govt calls for low-key Ganeshotsav celebrations

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: August 22, 2020 00:01 IST
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Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Friday urged people to celebrate Ganeshotsav, beginning from Saturday, in a low-key manner and avoid crowding in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IMAGE: A crowded Dadar market in Mumbai ahead of Ganeshotsav. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/ Rediff.com

He also urged Muslim community members to observe Muharram, which falls in the month-end, in a simple manner and avoid gathering, an official statement said.

The government has also issued guidelines regarding Ganeshotsav celebrations, saying that processions should not be taken out before installing and immersing idols.

It said the heights of Lord Ganesh idols installed by sarvajanik (community) mandals and at household-level should be limited to 4 feet and 2 feet, respectively, this year.

The statement said all mandals (associations) need to set up mandaps (decorated temporary covered structures) in line with the policies formulated by municipal corporations or the local administration.

 

The Ganeshotsav is to be celebrated in a simple manner this year, so there should be no pomp in the decorations by sarvajanik mandals or individuals installing idols in homes, the statement quoted Deshmukh as saying.

The government said people should possibly worship idols made of metals, marbles or other elements instead of installing conventional ones this year.

If the idols installed are made of clay or are eco- friendly, then those should be immersed at home itself, the statement said.

Idols should be immersed at a nearby artificial pond if it is not possible to immerse them at homes, the statement said.

If possible, the send off of idols should be postponed until the time of immersions of idols installed during Maghi Ganeshotsav or during the month of Bhadrapad 2021, that is, next year.

This will help avoid crowding while bringing/immersing idols and protect oneself and family from the COVID-19 infection, it added.

Preferably, health-related advertisements should be displayed during the 10-day festival to help people keep themselves safe and avoid the infection, the government said.

It urged mandals to undertake health initiatives instead of organising cultural programmes.

The government said mandals should try to arrange for online darshan of Lord Ganeshs idols.

It said mandaps be disinfected, thermal screening be arranged for and physical distancing related norms be strictly adhered to by devotees turning up at mandaps to seek darshan of the elephant-headed God.

Similarly, the government had issued a circular on Wednesday, saying Muslims should observe Muharram in a simple manner and avoid crowding.

It had also said that matam (mourning) processions should not be taken out keeping in mind the COVID-19 outbreak.

Follow social distancing norms: Ganesh mandals

People should not ignore social distancing norms while shopping for the Ganesh festival, an umbrella body of Ganesh mandals in Mumbai said on Friday.

Videos on social media showed thousands of people thronging the vegetable and flower market in Dadar area a day ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti chief Naresh Dahibawkar said people should have faith in the Lord, but also take preventive measures to keep coronavirus at bay.

The Samiti represents mandals or groups which celebrate the festival in public pandals.

"It was expected that people would take precautions with regard to social distancing ahead of the festival. But this doesn't seem to be happening," he said.

"In the last four-five days, a section of people seems to have forgotten social distancing norms at vegetable markets or flower markets in the city," Dahibawkar noted.

"Government's norms must be followed completely and people should cooperate," he said.

Ganesh mandals in the city have decided to take steps to ensure social distancing during the festival, he said.

The 11-day festival begins on Saturday. The Maharashtra government has imposed certain restrictions on the celebration this year, which include capping of the height of idols and ban on processions.

As of Thursday, Mumbai had reported 1,32,817 coronavirus cases and 7,311 deaths.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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