No mask, no Durga Puja: West Bengal govt announces strict norms
- Durga Puja committees have been told to follow COVID-19 safety protocol
- Adequate supply of masks and sanitisers has to be ensured
- Pandals to be declared a "no-entry zone" for visitors
Durga Puja is going to be a low-key affair in West Bengal this year. The grandeur, opulence and the buzz associated with the puja will be missing, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The West Bengal government on Monday issued a notification asking Durga Puja committees to follow safety protocols and set up spacious and open pandals where only visitors with masks will be allowed.
Guidelines stipulate that there should be an adequate supply of masks at pandals for those who turn up without one. Use and availability of hand sanitiser should similarly be made compulsory on the pandal premises.
Rituals such as Sindoor Khela, Pushpanjali, and Prasad distribution will be cautiously and distantly done in small groups of people. The guidelines encourage people to bring flowers from home so as to maintain minimal contact.
The alert comes four days after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee listed safety guidelines along similar lines for the puja committees.
The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered that no one, apart from organisers, will be allowed to enter the pandals as they have been declared as "no-entry zones".
The court order came in the wake of the ongoing pandemic the world over. West Bengal has registered more than 3.2 lakh cases of coronavirus and more than 6,000 deaths.