No kanwariyas to be allowed in Odisha as local Covid-19 cases spike
The Odisha government on Saturday announced it will not allow kanwariyas to collect water from any Shiva temple during the month of Shravan as the Covid-19 situation turned grim with around 28% of the cases reported from the local community.
Special relief commissioner Pradeep Jena said the Shiva devotees would not be allowed to carry water from any religious place or any other sources. They will also not allowed to walk on any public road and pour water in any temple during Shravan beginning July 6.
Kanwar Yatra is an annual pilgrimage as Shiva devotees walk to the River Ganga at different places such as Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri. They carry the holy water back to the local Shiva shrines in their areas.
The state government order came as 140 of the 495 cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) reported on Saturday were local indicating onset of community transmission. For the first time, Odisha reported five Covid-19 deaths in a single day, taking the toll to 34.
Ganjam district, where Covid-19 cases have gone past 2,000, reported 216 cases, prompting the state government to send two IAS officers as additional district magistrates and six OAS officers to control the deteriorating situation there.
But despite the government guidelines on no social gathering, people in Ganjam continued to flout the order forcing the district administration to seal an upscale hotel in Gopalpur that allowed a wedding to be held in its premises without adhering to the norms of social distancing and wearing of masks.
The district administration 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.
Police arrested the groom, his father, two brothers and uncle for violating Covid-19 guidelines. The matter came to light after a video of the wedding procession with participants dancing together without maintaining social distancing and wearing masks went viral.
Meanwhile, the spread of the virus in medical institutions went on unabated with reports of 38 new cases in Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre and six in SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.
The cancer centre has already reported more than 62 cases and SCB Medical College and Hospital 11 cases.
Odisha has 8,106 cases of the coronavirus disease and 29 fatalities so far.