To ensure that the city of joy welcomes the Goddess in a safe way the West Bengal government has issued certain guidelines for the visitors as well as the Puja pandal committees in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest festivals in India is Durga Puja and West Bengal carries the entire weight of the grandeur on its shoulders. During the Durga Puja, the city of joy becomes home to humungous pandals & idols, scintillating decor and outstanding light shows that captivate the interest of even the foreign tourists. However due to the ongoing global health crisis celebrations are going to take place in a low-key manner as the government has laid down stringent laws regarding the Durga Puja festivities. Read on to know the details.
Durga Puja SOPs
Visitors without masks shall not be allowed to enter the pandals.
The government has proposed a new model for each Durga Puja pandal. Pandals must be spacious and should remain open from all sides. If the ceiling is closed then sides have to be open. If the sides are blocked then ceiling has to be kept open.
Visitors need to maintain adequate social distancing among themselves. Each Puja committee must have ground volunteers who will be distributing gloves, masks and sanitisers along with ensuring that all social distancing rules are followed. Anyone not following them shall not be allowed entry into the pandal.
Puja rituals such as pushpanjali, sindoor khela and prasad distribution must take place in small groups and spaced out timings. The government has also urged people to bring their own flowers (BYOF - Bring your own flowers) from home for pushpanjali.
To avoid crowding the organisers have decided to cancel all cultural programs that used to be held in all the localities on Puja days.
Steps have been taken to manage overcrowding in the pandals. People can visit the pandals from Tritiya which is three days before the start of the actual five-day festival.
Since the street hawkers and artists will not be allowed to put up kiosks due to safety concerns their families would be provided with an aid of Rs 2000. Durga Puja committees are also planning to put up special lines for on-street shopping in order to manage crowds.
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Durga Puja committee in Kolkata are planning to introduce a drive-in ‘darshan’ concept. South Kolkata’s Durga Puja committee is creating a mini pandal with all the decorations or a tableau with a miniature idol and carrying it around the nearby areas. Likewise, three Durga Puja committees - Badamtala Ashar Sangha, 66 Palli and Kalighat Nepal Bhattacharjee Street Club are introducing a drive-in 'darshan' concept - an arrangement which would allow people to slow down their car to take a look at the pandal and the Durga idol without having to alight from their cars. It is to be noted that over 37,000 pujas would be organised across the state including more than 2,500 in Kolkata and around 1,700 pujas which are organised by women.
The pandemic has left many city people heartbroken before the Durga puja celebration. The SOPs along with the social-distancing concepts will definitely be a sigh of relief for them. That’s all for today! Keep reading the Trainman blog to know the latest updates on railways and COVID-19 virus. For the best ticketing booking experience, book your train tickets through Trainman app. Download the Trainman App to check PNR Status of your ticket, to get running status, to get train seat availability and many such features.