By Avinash Prabhakar
New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) For the second year running, Durga Puja celebrations in the national capital have turned into a low-key affair amid the threat of a possible third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, most of the pujas in Delhi have taken the virtual route this year, even though the Delhi governmnet has allowed Durga Puja celebrations following all the Covid protocols.
As managing the crowd visiting the pandals is a concern for the puja committees, they have decided to allow people inside only on invitation.
Bhavesh Chandra Saha, the manager of Chittaranjan Park Kali Mandir Society that organises one the prominent pujas in the area, told IANS that only a symbolic puja will be held this year with an idol in a small pandal, without any visitor.
“The second Covid wave snatched away many lives in our society, including some committee members. People are also unwilling to move around this time due to the looming Covid threat,” Saha said, added that the puja committee is following all the Covid guidelines and will allow only 50 people inside at a time with proper sanitisation and mask.
“We are going virtual this year and no physical ‘pushpanjali’ will be allowed. We have made arrangements for offering puja online this year,” said Saha.
Chitranjan Park has been a major attraction for decades for the pujas organised there.
The manager of Chitranjan Park Bangiya Samaj, Shyamal Mukherjee, told IANS that last year, no pre-pija fairs were organised in the area. This year, symbolic fairs were allowed following all the Covid protocols.
Around 40 to 50 per cent business during the pujas has been affected here, he said.
A handloom exhibition is held every year at the Chitranjan Park Bangiya Samaj premises where many state government stalls and other private parties showcase their products. This year, six stalls from Bangladesh are showcasing their products.
The Luv Kush Ramleela Committee of Red Fort has managed to present the Ramleela live on many channels this year due to the Covid threat.
Arun Kumar, secretary of the Ramlila committee, said, “We have managed to go live on around 15 channels and are encouraging the people to see the Ramlila live on TV. We are allowing devotees only on invitation to manage the crowd.
When asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s annual visit to the Red Fort on Vijya Dashami, Kumar said, “We have sent an invitation to the PMO and are awaiting its confirmation.”
(Avinash Prabhakar can be reached email@example.com)
By Avinash Prabhakar