The Assam government guidelines to allow only for the rituals to perform with restrictions have subdued the spirits of puja committees Credit: EastMojo Image

Guwahati: With Durga Puja round the corner, an exigent cloud of dangerous virus looms over the world which has engulfed even in Guwahati city. With precautions in check, devotees have amassed hope to worship goddess Durga, however times of the pandemic would confine pomp and grandeur that follows this festive season.

The Assam government guidelines to allow only for the rituals to perform with restrictions have subdued the spirits of puja committees who have diluted their preparations this year.
Bishnupur puja ground in Guwahati has always been successful in wooing crowds with massive structures, their pandals in previous years were seen from miles away.

In 2017, Bishnupur Sarbajanin Puja Committee’ pandal, has been enlisted in the Limca Book of Records as the tallest Durga idol standing at 98 feet high. All has changed this year. No tall structures, no crowds to woo; the puja committee has managed to erect a small structure for the devotees to come and make their prayers in front of the idol.

No tall structures, the puja committee have managed to erect a small structure for the devotees to worship

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“Keeping mind the current economic state we have not collected any donation this year. Last year, we had a budget of Rs 25 lakh but this year we could only manage Rs 2.5 lakh,” said Debashish Das, member of the puja committee at Bishnupur.

Das also mentioned that their puja committee will adhere to all the safety norms directed by the government.

“We would also appoint a guard at the entry to enforce social distancing among the crowd in addition to installing hand sanitizers, providing masks and checking temperatures of anyone who wishes to enter,” Das added.

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Bijit Pratim Das, general secretary of Latasil Puja Committee, said that this year they would not perform rituals at the Latasil field owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Looking at the guidelines from the state government, devotees would only be allowed to make their prayers but the rest of our programs will stand suspended this year,” mentioned the general secretary.

Latasil Puja Committee they would not perform rituals this year at the Latasil field owing to the coronavirus outbreak

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Meanwhile, Assam health minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma said a maximum of 50 people would be allowed at a pavilion at a time and wearing mask would be mandatory for everyone present at the pavilion.

The positivity rate has been falling consistently from October 6 with above 10% of the State’s population been tested for COVID-19.

“The mortality rate in the state is less than 1%. The recovery rate is 85%,” he stated.

Despite reducing numbers, Sarma has advised the people to keep following the safety protocol to fight the virus.



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