The 10-day festivities of Ganesha Chaturthi will begin on Saturday, August 22. Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popular festival and is celebrated with much grandeur in Maharashtra. And the city of Pune is not an exception. However, this year due to COVID-19 the celebrations will be different.
With COVID-19 cases piling up in the country the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi has been minimized and people have been urged to stay at home. Here is the list of specific guidelines that are to be adhered to during the Ganeshotsav 2020 in Pune.
Only 500 stalls will be allowed to set-up their shops for selling Ganesh idols this year.
Pune joint police commissioner Ravindra Shivse has appealed to Pune Mandals to celebrate the Ganpati festival in their Mandal temple and avoid grand celebrations.
No permissions will be given for decorations/Dekhavas this year.
PMC has also appealed to Mandals and household to immerse the idol in their Mandal premises or the home itself.
The sodium bicarbonate will be provided to all the residents of Pune at the ward office level.
In addition to this, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will have mobile tanks for Ganesh idol immersion.
Members of various Mandals must adhere to SOPs already in effect, such as Aarogya Setu app, social distancing, use of masks, sanitisers etc.
Mandals are encouraged to start online or video darshan for devotees.
With the shadow of coronavirus pandemic looming, the Maharashtra government in July decided to restrict the height of idols installed by Ganpati Mandals to only four feet during the coming Ganesh festival. Even the Ganesh idols installed at home can not be taller than two feet, said a notification issued by the Home Department.
It also advised Ganesh Mandals to postpone immersion of idols.
Apart from restricting the height, the notification also asked people to use metal or marble Ganesh idols at home.
If clay idols are installed, they should be preferably immersed at home or in nearby artificial ponds, it said.
The government has also asked the Mandals to consider immersion of idols during the Maghi Ganesh Chaturthi which falls in February or during the next year's Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
Processions to mark arrival and immersion of idols will not be allowed this year as they attract huge crowds.
The need of the hour is to prevent crowding and ensure the health and safety of people, the notification said.
Ganesh Mandals should accept only voluntary donations and advertisements should not aim to attract crowds but focus on health awareness and social messages, it said.
Instead of cultural programmes, health camps, blood donation camps should be organised and awareness should be created about infections such as coronavirus, malaria and dengue, it said.
There should be no crowds during daily `aarti' and noise pollution norms must be followed.
'Darshan' facility should be provided online through Facebook or other media or through cable networks, the notification said.
Pandals should have sanitization and thermal screening facilities and organisers should ensure that devotees who come for Darshan follow the hygiene protocol.
The notification also said there should be no aarti at the immersion venue.
(With inputs from PTI)