Just weeks away from Durga Puja, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday released guidelines in line with the full festival guidelines released by the Odisha government on August 9, 2021.
The Durga Puja will be celebrated from October 11 to 13, 2021. Therefore, any congregation for the celebration of the festival, including the associated religious and cultural congregation, will not be allowed in public in the jurisdiction of BMC, the latest notification said.
As per the BMC notification, Puja Committees / Organizers can lead Durga Puja to Mandaps / Pandals by adopting all COVID-19 protocols including social distancing, wearing masks, appropriate disinfection for which they must obtain the authorization of the duly authorized officer by the Police Commissioner.
Here are the BMC guidelines:
1. The congregation for the celebration of Durga Puja, including the associated religious and cultural congregation, will not be permitted in public under the jurisdiction of BMC. Puja Committees / Organizers can organize Durga Puja in Mandaps / Pandals by adopting all COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing. wearing masks, appropriate disinfection, etc. for which they must obtain the authorization of the officer duly authorized by the police commissioner of Bhubaneswar.
2. The Puja should be conducted in indoor conditions only for the observance of rituals without any participation, pomp and grandeur of the public.
3. Mandaps / Pandals should be covered on three sides and one side to be opened only for the purpose of being used by the priest for rituals. The fourth side should also be properly covered so as not to allow any public view / darshan of the idols by the devotees.
4. The height of the idol should be less than 4 feet.
5. The public address system should not be used during Puja or any other time during these Puja days.
6. At any time, there must not be more than 7 authorized persons, including organizers / priests / Kartas / support staff etc. in the Pandal / Mandap. And everyone in attendance will have to follow strict COVID-19 protocols. The organizers will ensure that only those who have been fully vaccinated are allowed to observe the Puja.
7. There will be no immersion procession by the organizers. The idols will be immersed in artificial pools that will be created by BMC for this purpose.
8. During the immersion, a maximum of 10 people should be involved as the size and weight of the idol has been limited this time. The Puja Committee should ensure that everyone involved during the immersion are fully vaccinated and adhere to appropriate COVID behavior when performing immersion rituals.
9. During the period of the puja, no religious procession of any kind, nor any musical or entertainment program will be organized by a public committee / group / club / puja, etc.
10. The Puja Committee should advise its members to keep all individual COVID vaccination clearances / certificates on hand and at all times for inspection by law enforcement agencies.