The Maharashtra government on Friday accorded 'Dahi Handi' festival the status of an 'adventure sport', in an effort to make it a safe activity and reduce the number of injuries associated with it.
"Celebrating Dahi handi festival with fervour has been a tradition of Maharashtra and we will continue to celebrate it in future as well, which is why we have decided to give it the status of an adventure sport," education minister Vinod Tawde told reporters in Nagpur.
"The status will ensure that rules will now be associated with this sport and people involved will have to abide by the rules. Our aim is to make this sport as safe as possible," Tawde said.
The minister had also told the state assembly about it earlier in the day.
He added that a total of four sports complexes will be built in Mumbai and Thane regions, where training will be imparted to those interested in taking part in the Dahi handi celebrations.
He alleged that the previous government had announced to construct 24 such complexes but none has come up yet.
Observing that fatal accidents were taking place during Dahi handi festival, the Bombay high court had on August 11 asked the state government to issue a circular banning participation of children below 18 years as 'govindas', participants in the human pyramids, in the forthcoming 'Dahi Handi'.
The court also directed the State to restrict the height of human pyramids to 20 feet. The Supreme Court had subsequently stayed the HC order and directed the state government to ensure compliance of the guidelines issued by the Maharashtra Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Tawde also said that June 21 will be observed as 'International Yoga day' and the Maharashtra government will also observe the day accordingly to promote country's ancient physical exercise.