West Bengal: Mamata rallies to celebrate UNESCO tag for Kolkata's Durga Puja
More than 1,000 Durga Puja committees took part in the rally Credit: EastMojo image

Agartala: In a move to avert mass gathering and ensure that people do not get infected during the Durga Puja, the state government today issued detailed guidelines with a set of restrictions for observing the festival.

An order copy issued by the chief secretary Manoj Kumar today informed that despite taking several measures to contain the spread, it appears that COVID- 19 pandemic may continue during up-coming days till Durga puja.

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NC Sharma additional secretary to the chief secretary issued a detailed guideline which informed that all clubs, puja committees, household and puja organizers must take prior permission from district administration, police and other concerned departments.

ā€œGiven the COVID-19 situation, the subscriptions may be voluntary. The clubs, puja committees may try to introduce a system of collection of donation, subscription online to avoid visit of homes and personal interaction. They may circulate bank details in case such arrangements are adopted. Effort should be made by Municipal bodies to reduce the number of pandals through mutual consultation so that there are no pandals in close vicinity,ā€ the general guideline reads.

For the puja pandals, the clubs are to avoid narrow entry-exit system & obstructions for movement and pandals should be designed in such a way that the idol is visible from a distance. The height of the Goddess Idols should be limited and should not exceed 10 feet. Only 5 to 10 visitors would be allowed at a time in front of the pandal maintaining physical distance.

The organizers should arrange sufficient places for visitors in front of the pandals. Required number of volunteers should be kept ready for maintaining physical distancing of the visitors in coordination with security personnel. Volunteers should ensure that only a limited number of visitors is allowed entry at a time to maintain social distancing, among others.

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The organising committees should arrange for a sufficient number of masks to distribute, keep hand sanitiser and hand wash facilities for all visitors at entry points as well as common areas. Sanitisation of puja pandals to be done at least three times every day. The bamboo, rope etc used for regulating crowds are to be particularly sanitised at regular intervals. There should be an arrangement of thermal screening of visitors in all puja mandaps / Pandals.

There will be night curfew during the puja period. The timings of the curfew will be decided after discussion with the organisers.

The state government has also issued a nine-point guideline with instruction for immersion of idols which includes the procedure and protocol for the clubs and organisers.

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The clubs would be allowed to use a minimum number of vehicles for idol immersion, and maximum 30 persons would be allowed for attending the immersion. At the same time, the police and civil administration have been asked to ensure that no mass gathering on roadsides during procession with idols.

Last year Durga puja was celebrated in a total of 2,459 areas including 869 in urban bodies and 1,590 in rural areas across the state.

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