With Durga Puja just weeks away, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) published rules on Thursday that are in conformity with the Odisha government’s full festival guidelines issued on August 9, 2021.
From October 11 to October 13, 2021, the Durga Puja will be observed. As a result, any gathering for the festival’s celebration, including accompanying religious and cultural gatherings, would not be permitted in public under BMC authority, according to the newest announcement.
According to the BMC announcement, Puja Committees/Organisers can hold Durga Puja in Mandaps/Pandals if they follow all COVID-19 norms, such as social distance, wearing masks, and appropriate sanitization, and get permission from a fully authorized officer by the Commissioner of Police.
Here are the BMC guidelines:
1. Durga Puja celebrations, including accompanying religious and cultural gatherings, are not permitted in public under the jurisdiction of the BMC. Puja Committees / Organizers can hold Durga Puja at Mandaps / Pandals while adhering to all COVID-19 procedures, such as social distance, masks, proper sanitization, and so on, with permission from an officer officially approved by the Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar.
2. The Puja must be held in an indoor-like setting only for the purpose of performing rites, with no public involvement, pomp, or grandeur.
3. Mandaps / Pandals must be covered on three sides, with one side exposed solely for the priest to utilize for ceremonies. The fourth side should also be adequately covered to prevent devotees from viewing/darshan the idols in public.
4. The size of the idol must be less than 4 feet.
5. Throughout Puja or at any other time during these Puja days, no public speaker system will be used.
6. In the Pandal/Mandap, no more than 7 people are permitted at any given time, including the organizers/priests/Kartas/support staff, etc. All persons attending will be required to adhere to COVID-I9 procedures. Only individuals who have been completely vaccinated will be permitted to participate in Puja, according to the organizers.
7. The organizers will not lead an immersion procession. The idols will be submerged in BMC-created artificial ponds for this purpose.
Because the size and weight of the idol have been limited this time, only a maximum of 10 people should participate in the immersion. When conducting immersion rites, the Puja Committee should verify that all individuals engaged are properly immunized and follow COVID guidelines.
9. During the puja period, no religious procession of any sort, nor any musical or entertainment program, will be conducted by any public/group/club/puja committee, etc.
10. The Puja Committee should advise its members to maintain all permissions/individual COVID Vaccination certificates on hand at all times in case they are inspected by enforcement agencies.