Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday chaired a Cabinet meeting and permitted public celebrations of the Ganesha Chaturthi festival only for five days
The Karnataka government on Sunday relaxed curbs on public celebration of Ganesha Chaturthi festival and allowed placing one Ganesha idol in one ward in the limits of city corporations, including Bengaluru, and restricted the number of people to 20 at a time.
In the wake of COVID-19, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday chaired a meeting with his Cabinet colleagues and experts and permitted public celebrations of the festival only for five days. It imposed over a dozen restrictions on public celebrations of the festival.
The government, in its revised guidelines, clearly stated that the height of the idols placed at public places and in houses should not be more than 4 ft and 2 ft, respectively.
Organisers have to obtain permission from local municipal authorities/local authorities for placing idols in public places. Organisers or committee members have to produce COVID-19 negative reports and vaccination certificates.
Deputy commissioners of border districts had been empowered to take decisions on granting permission to public celebrations of the festival depending on the COVID-19 cases. Permission would not be given in places which have more than 2% of positive cases, according to Revenue Minister R. Ashok.
The revised guidelines said organisers had been instructed to hold vaccination camps at places of public celebrations. Placing idols should not cause inconvenience to the public and movement of the people and not give rise to law and order problems.
Idols of Ganesha should be placed on the permitted locations and pandals to be erected on 50×50 sq ft area in city corporation limits, Mr. Ashok said.
The guidelines said all types of cultural and entertainment programmes were strictly prohibited during the festival. Processions had been banned during taking of idols to houses or public places for worship and during immersion. Idols had to be immersed at the designated tanks/ponds/mobile tanks identified by the local authorities.
Public places where idols would be kept for worship should be sanitised and arrangements made for thermal scanning and sanitisation for devotees visiting temples. Wearing face masks and maintaining social distance of 6 ft were mandatory for devotees visiting temples/public places, guidelines said.
The Minister said the government had strictly barred placing of idols on the premises of schools and colleges during the festival.
No celebrations would be allowed after 9 p.m. Night curfew has been imposed in the State from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
It may be noted that several BJP leaders and legislators and a few organisations had urged the government to allow public celebrations of the festival.
BJP stages protest
In Andhra Pradesh, the BJP opposed the restrictions imposed by the State government on the celebration of Vinayaka Chavithi at public places.
State BJP president Somu Veerraju and general secretary S. Vishnuvardhan Reddy were arrested at the District Collector’s bungalow in Kurnool when party leaders tried to picket opposing the ban on Ganesh puja in public places.
(With inputs from Kurnool)
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