The Government of Odisha today issued guidelines for the observance of the upcoming festive season including Durga Puja, Laxmi Puja, Kali Puja, and other festivals during September, October, and November.
According to the guidelines, no public view of the idols of the deities will be allowed this year.
Here are the guidelines in detail for the upcoming Festive season in Odisha:
* For conducting Puja in Puja Pandals/Mandaps, the organizers shall apply to and obtain the necessary permission from the District Magistrate or any other officer authorized by him/her. For the area under Commissionerate of Police of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, such permission shall be given by the Commissioner of Police of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar or any other officer authorized by him/her.
* Puja shall be conducted in indoor-like conditions only for observance of rituals without public participation, pomp, and grandeur.
* Puja Pandals/Mandaps shall be covered on three sides. The 4th side shall also be covered in a way not to allow any public view of the idols. There shall be no darshan by public/ devotees.
* The size of the idol shall be less than 4 feet.
* There shall be no use of public address system.
* At any given point of time, there shall not be more than 7 persons including organizers (Kartas) and priests and support staff present in the Puja Pandal/ Mandap.
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* The persons present at Puja Pandal/Mandap shall follow all COVID protocols of social distancing, mask use, personal hygiene, and sanitation issued by Central/ State Government/ Local Administration in letter and spirit.
* The organizers and other persons involved in conducting the Puja shall abide by any other condition(s) as imposed by Local Administration/ appropriate authority.
* There shall be no immersion procession. The idols will be immersed in an artificial pond(s) created by the local administration for the purpose.
* There shall be no music or any other entertainment program.
* Penal provisions: Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against in accordance with the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and Regulations issued thereunder besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC and other legal provisions as applicable.
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