New Delhi: The auspicious occasion of Durga Puja will commence this year from October 22. The five-day-long affair is a major festival amongst the Bengali community who welcome Maa Durga amid much aplomb.
However, this year is different. Amid the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic, the nation witnessed a complete lockdown of over three months starting this March. Slowly, with Unlock 5.0 now is action, the country is getting back to normalcy but with precautions in place. Social distancing, wearing masks and gloves, sanitisation is the new normal in 2020.
Therefore, festivities too have been hit and now celebrations are done with certain restrictions.
During Durga Puja and Navratri, massive crowd gathers in Devi pandals where people meet and greet each other, seek blessings of Maa Durga. Now, keeping the COVID-19 scare in mind, the Delhi government has issued a formal order allowing Durga Puja pandal set-up and Ram Leela to be organised in the city but with a few dos and don’ts.
– No rallies, food stalls, exhibitions or processions will be allowed inside or outside any pandal or venue until October 31, 2020.
– Permission to host any event will be granted by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) or by the District Magistrate only after full inspection of the area is carried out.
– In closed spaces, events can be hosted with only 50 per cent capacity. Not more than 200 people allowed.
– In case of outdoor events, the number allowed must be strictly based on the social distancing norms.
– No one will be allowed entry without masks, and separate gates for entry and exit.
– Video recording of the event. Every organiser must make a video recording of their event, based on sample video that the district magistrates share.
– The District Magistrate will appoint a nodal officer for every Durga Puja pandal or Ram Leela event. Also, another officer will be appointed by the DCP of the area, ensuring guidelines are adhered to.