30/09/2020 4:07 PM IST

West Bengal: No Lockdown Dates In October, SoP Released For Durga Puja Pandals

Durga Puja pandals will have to be as open as possible, there will be no cultural programmes inside them and masks will be mandatory.

Pacific Press via Getty Images
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in a file photo. 

There will be no lockdown in West Bengal in October, keeping in mind that this month is the largest festival season in the state with the Durga Puja beginning from October 23. 

The West Bengal government, however, announced a series of measures the puja pandals will have to take this year. 

SoP for pandals

In a notification on Monday, the West Bengal government issued a list of do’s and don’ts for Durga Puja committees to follow this year. 

Heres what it said: 

— Pandals shall have to be spacious and should be kept open from all sides.

— If a pandal has a closed ceiling, the sides will have to be kept open

— If the sides are blocked, the ceiling has to be kept open.

— Visitors cannot enter without masks

— Organisers have to make arrangements for distribution of masks in close vicinity of the pandal for visitors who inadvertently come without wearing masks

—   Use and availability of hand sanitiser should similarly be made compulsory in the pandal premises

— Rituals such as ‘pushpanjali’, ‘sindoor khela’ and distribution of ‘prasad’ should be organised in small groups with spaced out timings, the notification said, accorind to PTI. 

— People have also been asked to bring flowers from home for ’pushpanjali’. 

— No cultural programmes in or near the puja pandal premises will be allowed.

— The government has asked for arrangements to be made so that people can visit from day of Tritiya, three days prior to the start of five-day festival which begins on October 23, PTI reported.

What is allowed from October 1? 

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted saying open air theatres, cinemas will open from October 1. 

She said jatras, plays, musical, dance, recitals and magic shows will also be allowed with 50 participants or less. 

This would be subject to adherence to physical distancing norms, wearing of masks and compliance to precautionary protocols, she said. 

This is in contrast with the Centre’s decision to keep theatres and cinemas shut during unlock 5.0. 

Push for puja festivities

While no lockdown dates were announced after it held some complete lockdown days in August and September, Banerjee said that she would not let coronavirus dampen pujo spirits. 

Last week Banerjee had said, “We will surely organise the Durga puja this year. We have to avoid crowds at any cost because vultures are sitting out there to blame us if we don’t allow the puja or if any spike occurs after the puja. They have no responsibility... We will put coronavirus in lockdown and hold the puja this year.” 

(With PTI inputs)

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