Formation of human pyramids by govindas to break dahi handis during the Gokulashtami celebration will now be treated as an adventure sport, according to the government resolution issued by the Maharashtra sports department on Wednesday.
While the lower age limit for the participants has been fixed at 12, anyone below 18 years will have to get a no-objection letter from parents or guardians to participate. The state, however, has not put a limit on the height of the pyramids. “The plan is to promote human pyramids through competitions. Just as it is difficult to set a limit for a car race, it is unfair to tell how tall a pyramid should be. We have come up with a set of rules to ensure the safety of the participants,” said education and sports minister Vinod Tawde.
Equipment such as chest guard, safety belts, helmets, harness and foams for the pyramid to land have been made compulsory. The organisers will have to give a life insurance cover to the participants and keep facilities such as ambulances, doctors and mobile toilets on standby.
There is no clarity on the action to be taken against defaulters. “The law and order department will make sure the rules are followed,” Tawde said.
Taking note of the accidents during the celebration, the Supreme Court had said the lower age limit for participants should be 18 and there should also be a limit on the height of the pyramids. The govinda organisers, affiliated to political parties such as the Shiv Sena and the NCP, had objected to the restrictions, pressuring the government to recognise it as an adventure sport instead.
A state committee will be formed to decide how the sport should be played and frame conditions for competitions, which both organisers and govinda groups will have to follow.