Wearing face mask, Social distancing etc are all mandatory Credit: Twitter

Agartala: In a move to ensure no further spread of novel coronavirus in the state, the Tripura government has issued a set of restrictions ahead of Diwali festival. The government seems to have learnt its lesson from the Durga Puja celebrations, where thousands of devotees had flouted in Usha Bazaar Bharat Ratna club eventually resulting in the ban of pandal and idol immersion.

In a notification issued by the chief secretary Manoj Kumar, the state government has issued a set of restrictions under Disaster Management Act, 2005. The puja organising committees have been asked to ensure social distancing and avoid public gathering, mela or fair in front of Kali temple across the state.

A separate restriction will be issued for the Kali Puja at Tripureswari temple at Matabari, Udaipur, the government added.

The temple, which is over 500 years old, is the holiest pilgrimage site in the region. It is popular for being one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of Hindus. The temple was in 1501 by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya.

The puja committees have been asked to organise puja in open space so that the idol is clearly visible from a distance. The size of idol goddess kali in community pujas have been asked to keep below 5 feet, and only 5 visitors will be allowed at a time.

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The order copy also cited that all the Puja pandals are sanitised at least three times during Puja day. There should be an arrangement of thermal screening of visitors in all Puja Pandals. If any visitor with high temperature is detected, local health authorities may be contacted for necessary action.

In the domestic celebrations of Diwali and Kali Puja, invitees should be limited to 15 to 20 persons, and all should wear masks and maintain physical distance. It also said that the use of crackers should be avoided during Diwali Utsav and guidelines issued by the science, technology & environment department in this regard should be followed strictly by all.

“While shopping in markets, crowded areas may be avoided. 18. The District Police administration should keep close surveillance on public gatherings in the premises of Kali Puja Pandals / Mandaps in coordination with Police Municipal authorities, and other departments”, the order copy reads.

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Meanwhile, chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb said that guidelines have been issued by the state to ensure the safety of the people.

He appealed that people visiting Tripurasundari temple follow the restrictions abiding by the guidelines of the Gomati district magistrate.

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“We have seen that during Durga Puja people have followed the protocol which has helped us in controlling the spread of the virus. The recovery rate has improved with 95.07 per cent. We hope that the recovery rate keeps on improving. The mela has been canceled for this year. Only the existing shops in the vicinity of the temple would be allowed to remain open during the Diwali festival”, Deb said.

Earlier on November 6, Deb launched eco-friendly diyas as an alternative to plastic and artificial lights made by the bamboo artisans under Self Help Group (SHG) ahead of Diwali festival.

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