Agartala: In a bid to avert mass gatherings and curb Covid infections during the upcoming Durga Puja celebrations, Tripura government Tuesday issued detailed guidelines.

AK Bhattacharya, additional secretary, revenue department, issued a detailed guideline that states that it is mandatory for all clubs, puja committees, households and puja organizers to take prior permission from district administration, police administration and other departments concerned.

“The State Executive Committee, Tripura Disaster Management Authority, in exercise of the powers, conferred under Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, hereby directs all Clubs/Puja Committees/Household Puja Organizers and other stakeholders to follow the guidelines given in Annexure-1 during Durga puja and other puja celebrations in Tripura during October to December, 2021. Non-compliance of the guidelines shall attract action as per law,” the order copy reads.

For the puja pandals, the clubs have been instructed to avoid narrow entry-exit systems and obstructions for movement. They have also been instructed to ensure that the pandals are designed in such a way that the idol is clearly visible from a distance.

Also read: Tripura all set for low-key Durga Puja celebrations this time

According to the guidelines, the height of the goddess’ idol should not exceed 10 feet. Only 5 to 10 visitors would be allowed in front of the pandal at a time maintaining physical distance. Sufficient places for visitors in front of the pandals should be arranged by the organizers. 

Required number of volunteers should be kept ready for maintaining physical distance between the visitors in coordination with security personnel. Volunteers should ensure that only a limited number of visitors are allowed entry at a time to maintain social distancing among others, the guidelines say.

The Puja organizing committees have been instructed to arrange sufficient masks to distribute, keep hand sanitizers and hand wash facility ready for all visitors at entry points as well as common areas. All the puja pandals must also be sanitized at least three times every day.

The guidelines also state that bamboo, ropes, etc., used for regulating crowds may particularly be sanitized on a regular interval. There should be an arrangement of thermal screening of visitors in all Puja mandops/pandals.

Unlike previous years, this year there will be night curfew during the puja period. The timings of the curfew will be decided after discussion with the organizers, the government said.

Also read: Tripura: Massive security arrangements in place for Durga Puja

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 organizers.

The clubs would be allowed to use a maximum of 30 persons to attend the immersion ceremony, while the police and civil administration have been instructed to ensure that no mass gathering takes place on the roads during the procession.

The guidelines also cited that the priests would direct the pushpanjali ritual through microphones and the devotees need to bring flowers from their homes. Not more than 10 to 15 devotees are allowed to take part in the pushpanjali at a time.

The guideline also mandated the puja organizers to install CCTVs in their pandals to monitor the crowds and later hand over the footage to the police. Pregnant women, senior citizens and children below 10 years old have been advised to stay away from the pandals.

Though there would be no Durga puja celebration in the containment zones, the people residing within the zones could celebrate in their respective homes, the guidelines said.

Also read: Bharat bandh fails to evoke much response in Tripura

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