With hardly a few days left for the festival of Holi, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday issued a circular virtually banning the festival. Owing to the quantum rise in the daily caseload, the civic body on Tuesday prohibited the public/celebration of 'Holika Dahan' (burning of Holy pyre) and DhuliVandan / Rang Panchami (festival of colours ).
Not only this, the civic body has warned that those found flouting the order will be prosecuted under the relevant sections of the Epidemic Disease Act 1897 and Disaster Management Act of 2005.
The festival of Holi will be celebrated on March 28 and 29 this year. " We have banned playing Holi on both days in public and private space to curb the virus transmission in the city. We have appealed to people to avoid playing Holi even in the inner circle of close friends and family members. Those flouting the order will face action," said Iqbal Singh Chahal, BMC commissioner.
The BMC's order comes in the backdrop of several other states banning or restricting Holi celebrations to contain the virus spread. Uttar Pradesh has issued a detailed order on Holi celebrations. The directive issued to all district and division-level officers said Covid testing of all those coming to UP during the Holi festival from states reporting high numbers of infections will be necessary. The Chandigarh administration on Monday also ordered a ban on festivities relating to Holi.Mumbai witnessed a rapid growth in infections in several parts of the city after Ganesh Chaturthi in September last year. The civic body is hence being extra cautious this time.
"Given the surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, celebrating the festival of colours implies coming in close contact with others which can increase the risk of transmission. Hence the prohibition. We expect citizens to act responsibly and follow the guidelines and demonstrate Ccovid appropriate behaviour," Chahal added.
In the national Capital, too, it has been decided not to allow gatherings/congregations during the upcoming festive season.