Ramleela, Dussehra, Durga Puja allowed in Delhi with restrictions

DDMA also decided to consider phased reopening of remaining classes in schools (nursery to class 8). The officials added that in its first meeting after Dussehra, the authority will take a call on reopening schedule and regulations for resumption of remaining classes
Which set of classes will open when and what rules would apply, etc, will be chalked out in the first DDMA meeting after Dussehra on October 15. (Hindustan Times/Photo/representative use)
Which set of classes will open when and what rules would apply, etc, will be chalked out in the first DDMA meeting after Dussehra on October 15. (Hindustan Times/Photo/representative use)
Updated on Sep 29, 2021 04:42 PM IST
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ByAbhishek Dey

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday decided to allow Ramleela, Dussehra and Durga Puja celebrations this year in public places but with a set of restrictions. However, the authority is yet to issue an order regarding the decisions taken in Wednesday’s meeting.

Organisers will have to ensure number of people do not exceed total number of seats in a venue, no stalls and fairs are set up, there is 100% mask compliance, and separate entry and exit points are provided for, apart from a few other restrictions that the Authority will soon notify in a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) document, said three officials aware of the matter.

DDMA also decided to consider phased reopening of remaining classes in schools (nursery to class 8) after the festive season, said two of the three officials mentioned above. They added that in its first meeting after Dussehra, the authority will take a call on reopening schedule and regulations for resumption of remaining classes for in-person learning.

“In wake of the upcoming festive season, Delhi Police and the District Administration will ensure Vividh (various) appropriate behaviour enforcement and take care that gatherings during the festive season are strictly in compliance with the laid down SOPs that include no standing crowds, separate entry and exit points, appropriate social distancing for seating, no activities (like fares, stalls and giant wheel etc) that attract crowds in violation of social distancing and onus on organisers for ensuring SOPs are followed,” said a senior official in Raj Niwas who was present in Wednesday’s meeting.

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Last year, the DDMA prohibited Durga Puja committees to organise public celebrations. Ramleela committees were asked to go for live streaming. Burning of effigies in Dussehra was allowed in a few locations with restrictions on maximum size of crowds.

Arjun Kumar, general secretary of Luv Kush Ramleela committee, said: “We met government officials several times in the past few week and assured them that we will ensure all safety regulations are followed. We are happy that the government has trusted us. However, we will continue to live stream the Ramleela in social media and we have tied up with cable operators too.”

Robin Bose, general secretary of the Durga Puja committee in Kashmere Gate, said: “We will ensure that all regulations are strictly adhered to. Safety of people comes first. We hope that the process of taking permission from the police and sub-divisional magistrate’s office is expedited too.”

Another official in the executive council of DDMA, who was present in Wednesday’s meeting, said, “It was also decided today that phased re-opening of remaining classes in schools will begin after the festive season. Modalities regarding that, as in which set of classes will open when, what rules would apply, etc, will be chalked out in the first DDMA meeting after Dussehra on October 15.”

Dr Jugal Kishore, head of the community medicines department in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, said: “The government should focus on vaccinating all teaching and non-teaching staff and start schools at the earliest. Cities and states across the world are doing that now. Schools are necessary for well-being of children. Aa far as festivals are concerned, people should not let their guards down just because it is allowed. They should wear masks and avoid crowded places.”

Currently, schools and coaching centres in the city are allowed to hold in-person physical classes for students in class 9 and above.Delhi’s lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal is the chairperson of DDMA. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is its vice chairperson.

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