BMC says no garba in Mumbai this year too, despite drop in COVID-19 cases - Read guidelines here

BMC says no garba in Mumbai this year too, despite drop in COVID-19 cases - Read guidelines here

Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the city of Mumbai have reduced significantly, however, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been taking necessary steps to curb the spread further. To strengthen the same, the municipal corporation, on Thursday, September 30, 2021, released guidelines which will have to be followed during the Navratri festival in the city. 

Similar to the announcements last year, no public celebrations will be allowed for Navratri 2021. Moreover, events like Garba and Dandiya have been prohibited. Instead, the government has appealed to the citizens and associations to conduct Health Awareness and Blood Donation Camps to encourage people and seek support for a noble cause.

Authorities have informed that the crowd gathers usually during the rituals like pooja and Aarti and this needs to be avoided. Considering this, only five people will be allowed in the pandal and residential premises during the festivities, both while welcoming and during the visarjan of the goddess. Moreover, public associations which celebrate using idols will have to follow the norms of not having an idol more than four feet in height, while idols for domestic celebrations cannot be more than two feet in height.

Guidelines were also issued during Ganeshotsav 2021, and this saw a significant difference in celebrations and pollution levels this year. Public activities were prohibited, and strict norms were imposed by the police. Following the same, the BMC has issued guidelines for Navratri too. Sharing more about the same, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Harsh Kale, in a conversation with the Times of India, said, “At the time of Ganpati, religious places had not opened, so we had not allowed physical darshan. However, now the same will be allowed with the rider that social distancing and all other Covid-appropriate behaviour should be followed. However, we are restricting garba as that brings people in close contact with each other.”

Associations have been asked to screen the visitors and check the temperatures if they visit the pandal, however, officials have appealed to the citizens and associations to prefer online darshan. Further, distribution of prasad and flowers will not be allowed either. Immersion of idols will have to be done at natural sites as the BMC not planned artificial sites for the same, but the idols will have to be handed over the concerned officials at the location, who will perform the rituals.

Celebrations for both Ganeshotsav and Navratri are being held in a simple manner for the last two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in positive change for the environment too. Reports released by Mumbai-based Awaaz foundation revealed that the noise levels during the visarjan this year were the lowest observed in the last 18 years. This was noted as the public activities were strictly prohibited, and the citizens followed the rules as directed.

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