Delhi: Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations prohibited over Covid concerns
Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in public places and processions or gatherings related to it have been prohibited in the Capital due to the Covid-19 pandemic for the second consecutive year. An order to notify the ban on festivities was issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Tuesday night. Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on Friday, September 10 this year and the 11-day celebration will conclude on September 21.
The order, signed by Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev, urged devotees to celebrate the festival at home. “Ganesh Chaturthi festival will be celebrated during this month, i.e. in the month of September, 2021 and considering the prevailing restrictions on gatherings and congregations and present situation of Covid-19 pandemic, it has been decided that Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations may not be allowed in public places and people may be advised to celebrate the festival at their home only,” said the order seen by HT.
All district magistrates and the Delhi Police have been directed to ensure that no idol of Lord Ganesha is set up in tents, pandals or public places. They also have been asked to disallow any form of procession, and not grant permissions to any committees. Around 100 committees seek permission for community celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in Delhi every year, but thousands of people celebrate in their homes, and then immerse idols in the Yamuna.
Delhi has added an average of 40 fresh Covid-19 cases each day over the past seven days, shows state government data. The city has added just 17 deaths from the viral infection over the past month, as caseloads have dropped to their lowest since the early days of the pandemic in March last year.
“All district magistrates and their counterpart district deputy commissioners of police and all authorities concerned shall ensure strict compliance of this order and shall adequately inform and sensitise the field functionaries about these instructions for strict compliance in letter and spirit,” the order said.
“It is also directed that the district magistrates and district DCPs shall convene meetings with religious/community leaders/Ganesh Chaturthi festival committees before the festival to get their cooperation to maintain law and order and harmony and also to sensitise public for compliance of guidelines.instructions issued for combating Covid-19 by the government from time to time,” the order added.
Ashok Bansal, general secretary of Ganesh Mahotsav Samitee in south Delhi’s Mehrauli said this time almost all the committees voluntarily decided not to organise any public event during the festival because of the pandemic.
“Those who want to celebrate can do so at home only. Idol immersion along the river or other such places is not allowed as it leads to congregations or processions. So, people are requested to only get ecofriendly idols for their homes as they get dissolved in a tub of water. We all did that last year and then water our plants with it,” he said.
A revenue official said the government is planning to create about a dozen artificial ponds for immersion. “This is because not everyone has adequate space to immerse or dispose of the idol in their homes or localities. So, there will be a few who will turn up for immersions, despite the prohibition. The idea is to get that done under strict surveillance with proper social distancing and ensuring no more than two or three people,” the official said.
Naresh Goel, member of the Ganesh Puja Samiti in Nehru Place said some temples will stream the pujas online. “No committee planned anything this time in terms of public ceremony because DDMA orders even before Tuesday’s order were clear that no form of gathering or congregation will be allowed in the city,” he said.