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Section 144 & restrictive protocols cloud Ganesh Chaturthi festivities in Mumbai

Physical darshans at community Ganpati pandals have been banned in Mumbai

The Mumbai Police on Thursday imposed Section 144 in the city, restricting the assembly of five or more persons during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, starting today. The restriction has been enforced in line with a COVID uptick in Mumbai, which scaled up to 458 cases in the last 24 hours. Reportedly, Section 144 will remain in order here from September 10 to 19, restricting processions and gatherings at Ganpati pandals.

Prohibitory orders in Mumbai during Ganpati celebrations

In a bid to prevent the rise of the COVID 'third wave' in Mumbai, the administration has banned all public assemblies during the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festive. All Ganpati mandals and organisers have to ensure live coverage of the Aarti through social media platforms to facilitate darshans for the devotees, as physical visits for the same have been banned.

Televised streaming of the veneration can also be opted by bigger and popular pandals, read reports. Officials also informed that only fully vaccinated citizens will be allowed to volunteer at the pandals.

There are about 12,000 community or public Ganpati madals in Mumbai, with as many as 2 lakh household installations, this year. However, in the wake of the case surge, the BMC has issued specific protocols for immersion and celebrations, while encouraging the public to celebrate the festival with simplicity.

Guidelines for Ganpati processions and immersion parties in Mumbai

Not more than 10 people from the organising committee are allowed to be a part of the arrival and immersion processions of the Ganpati festival. For household celebrations, this number has been limited to only 5 people, stated the BMC. As per the guidelines, all devotees participating in these gatherings should have taken both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, at least 15 days ago. They are also expected to follow all standard safety protocols, such as wearing a face mask and observing social distance.

For immersion of idols installed at containment zones, organisers have to either make arrangements in the restricted zone or postpone the ceremony. People can also make provisions for the immersion of idols at home.

While the norms have dampened the spirit of one of the largest street festivals of the city, Mumbaikars are grateful for getting to celebrate the occasion this time, unlike last year. Citizens have expressed their excitement and have taken the responsibility to ensure that all festivities are within the scope of framed guidelines.

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