Full scale marriages and functions are ruining Odisha’s war on Covid-19
Though the Odisha government has been emphasising on social distancing and wearing masks as measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, there have been at least a dozen such violations this month.Updated: Jul 14, 2020 23:54 IST
Even as Odisha’s total Covid-19 cases surged past 14,000 with cases and deaths galloping in July, Odisha government has been at its wit’s end trying to stop mass congregations including marriage ceremonies and religious gatherings.
On Tuesday, police in Puri district seized huge cauldrons of variety of food items from a village in Pipili block where a man had thrown a community feast to celebrate his son’s marriage. Ganesh Patra of Nijagadakurukhi Patrasahi village had invited over 500 people for lunch near his home in stark violation of the Covid-19 guidelines on marriage functions. Police and local administration seized the cooked food and distributed it among poor people in the area.
“The man not only violated the Covid guideline of having not more than 50 guests in a marriage function, but also didn’t observe any social distancing. Very few people wore masks,” said Pipili tehsildar Sapan Nanda.
Though the state government has been emphasising on social distancing and wearing masks as measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, there have been at least a dozen such violations this month. In just 13 days, the state has reported around 7,000 Covid positive cases of which 30.9 % were spread through local contacts.
In Kendrapara district, police on Tuesday arrested seven persons for organising a congregation of over 500 people for the marriage of a local contractor, while in Pattamundai block of the district, local police lodged a case against seven persons including the husband of the sarpanch over a religious congregation for installing a new image of the local deity after the existing one was broken.
In Ganjam district, where doctors are worried about community transmissions, police on Saturday arrested the Naib Sarpanch Krushna Chandra Jena of Dengapadar gram panchayat in Polasara block of Ganjam district for doing a yagna in gross violation of Covid-19 regulations.
Jena had allegedly organized a religious congregation of over 500 people for the installation ceremony of a Hanuman temple at Mardarajpur village on July 6 in violation of Covid-19 guidelines and regulations. A local youth who had objected to the holding of such large gatherings was thrashed by the organisers.
In a separate case, police sealed an upscale hotel in Gopalpur town of Ganjam district that allowed a marriage at its premises without adhering to the social distancing norms and wearing of masks. Police arrested the groom, his father, two brothers and an uncle for violating Covid-19 guidelines and levied a fine of Rs 50,000 on hotel Mayfair and sealed it for seven days. The Regional Transport Office also impounded the vehicle in which the groom was going to the hotel.
On Sunday, a case was registered against a man in Gajapati district whose wedding was reportedly attended by around 1,000 guests.
“We have been running awareness campaigns on the necessity of avoiding any congregations that would lead to more infections. People need to understand that we are in a dangerous phase and any lapse would worsen the situation further,” said Ganjam district collector Vijay S Kulange.
Meanwhile, a legislator from Balasore district on Tuesday tested positive for Covid-19 while a 63-year-old journalist passed away after testing positive for the virus. Earlier, a BJP and BJD MLA had been infected.