Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar order said the festival will be observed in a simple manner as per the state’s direction.
Ganesh Chaturthi, one of the biggest festivals of Maharashtra that attracts huge crowd is just around the corner and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to avert the risk of the increasing spread of Covid-19 infections has banned processions during the festival.
Ganesh mandals were given permission to erect pandals following the instructions of the civic body. In Pune, Ganesh festival is celebrated for 10 -days and attracts tourists from all across the country and abroad. Decorations of the pandal and the extravagant processions are its biggest attraction.
Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar order said the festival will be observed in a simple manner as per the state’s direction. The mandals need to take permission from the civic body and follow instructions regarding celebrations while maintaining existing restrictions. Procession during installation and immersion of idols is prohibited. Also, children and senior citizens are advised to avoid such gatherings like immersion.
The maximum height of the idol should be four feet while that of home idols can be two feet, Kumar said. Kumar further advised devotees to install Ganesh idols made of eco-friendly materials like metal or stone. If it is made of sand, the immersion can be done at home or else at an artificial water tank provided by the PMC.
The order further said that the Ganesh mandals cannot pressurise people for donation. No advertising billboards will be put out and instead, health camps and public awareness programs should be organised by the committees. Also, there should be an arrangement for a live telecast of the festival on social media handles and local cable networks to resist over-crowding.
Moreover, the mandals were instructed to sanitise the pandal area regularly, introduce a thermal scanning facility at the entrance for devotees and monitor everyone is wearing masks, and maintaining a physical distance.
Last year during the ragging pandemic, the Ganesh mandals were asked to install idols ata temple premises and not at pandals by the civic body. The age-old tradition of pilgrimage from Pune to Pandharpur has also been called off, the secound consecutive year keeping the Covid situation in mind. Other festivals like Bakri Eid were also a low-key affair this year.
Meanwhile, Mayor Murlidhar Mohol is not happy over non-relaxations of Covid-19 restrictions by the Maharashtra government in Pune despite the reduction in daily positivity rate and has been demanding permission to let shops remain open for a longer period to provide relief to traders. “We request the state to take a decision on it immediately,” Mohol said.