Bengaluru: Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Friday revised its guidelines for Durga Puja and Navratri celebrations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The municipal body has removed the previously set limit of four feet on the idol size and has also allowed batches of 50 people each at a time during prayers.
However, there is no limit on the number of batches. As per the revised guidelines, the orgainsers will have to seek permission from the Joint Commissioner of BBMP and the police to install more than one idol in a ward.
BBMP has put a blanket ban on DJ, Dhak or drums during idol immersion (visarjan) procession.
Visarjan shall only take place at the public tank/immersion pond as identified and permitted by Zonal Joint Commissioner and Police.
As opposed to BBMP’s previous order banning DJ, Dhak, or drums during visarjan procession, the revised order has allowed the use of musical instruments during prayer rituals.
The changes came after the previous guidelines of the BBMP faced backlash.
BJP MP Tejasvi Surya had written to the municipal body and had demanded a change in the guidelines. He had called them “discriminatory” and “unconstitutional”.
“It is highly regrettable that the administration imposes such harsh arbitrary rules only during celebrations of Hindu community and turns a blind eye towards celebrations of other faiths. This discriminatory imposition of restrictions is condemnable and patently unconstitutional,” read Surya’s letter to BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta.
Other than the aforementioned changes, the other guidelines issued by the BBMP in its earlier order remain the same.
The puja associations must strictly monitor and adhere to COVID-appropriate behavior. BBMP has also mandated thermal screening and sanitisation for all visitors to the entry gate.
The Puja associations should place additional sanitiser bottles in multiple places inside the venue. Further, sanitisation of chairs, tables, and floors is to be done at least four times a day.
The safety norms for COVID-19 must be displayed inside the premises; BBMP has also made it mandatory to install potable drinking water for all visitors.
The Puja associations should not allow more than 10 members at a time for Debi Boron.
Sindur Khela should be restricted to a maximum of 10 persons at a time.
The municipal body prohibited the distribution of sweets, fruits, and flowers.
It further said the association shall issue invitation cards for guests with specific timing slots so as to not breach 100 numbers at a time.