Bengaluru gears up for grand Durga Puja as civic body relaxes COVID curbs

Musical instruments such as drums will be allowed during the rituals but the ban on distribution of sweets, fruits and flowers remains.

Durga devotees will only be allowed in batches of 50.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has relaxed some COVID restrictions in the city in view of the upcoming Durga Puja festivities.

Corporation chief Gaurav Gupta has put out an order removing curbs on the height of Durga idols and on the total number of batches during the Pushpanjali and Sandhi puja timings. But devotees will have to follow all pandemic protocols and people will be allowed only in batches of 50.

The BBMP had so far allowed only one Durga Puja per ward but now the civic body has allowed more than one idol in a ward if the organisers seek permission from the Joint Commissioner of BBMP and the police. Musical instruments such as drums will be allowed during the rituals but the ban on distribution of sweets, fruits and flowers remains.

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“Sanitisation of chairs, tables, floors are to be done at least four times a day. Display of safety norms for COVID-19 inside the venue/premises is mandatory. Installation of potable drinking water for all visitors,” the guidelines read, adding that visitors will be screened at the entry gate and organisers have to place sanitiser bottles at various spots.

Immersion of the idols should be at a public tank or immersion pond identified and permitted by the zonal joint commissioner and the police, the rules state.

The Indian Express, however, quoted Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya as saying: “The local administration has no locus standi to direct what pooja and how much of it is to be done.”

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