With the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi drawing closer here is a look at the guidelines issued by some of the state governments in order to celebrate the festival.
Various state governments of India have started to issue fresh guidelines for this year's Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations as the date of the festival draws closer.
The Karnataka government has issued guidelines regarding the rules and regulations for setting up pandals and idols in public places yesterday. The government has notified the public of the various security arrangements that need to be made as well.
According to the regulations in the southern state, organisations and groups setting up pandals have to mandatorily set up CCTV cameras in order to avoid theft or any other suspicious activity amidst the crowded atmosphere. Additionally, all pandals need to be located away from high-tension electricity poles for the risk of accidental electrical fires and electrocution. The government has also asked community associations, social organisations and other community-based groups to organize local meetings to avoid communal tensions. Finally, organisers will need to apply for pandal permits through a single-window system, which will see approvals come from the revenue, police, energy, fire and PWD departments. All permits must be taken at least three days prior to the event.
In the neighbouring state of Maharashtra, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have removed various restrictions regarding the festivities. Among these is the cap to the height of idols which has now been removed. The decision was taken to let devotees celebrate the festival fully after two years of muted celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have issued directives to the police and the district administrations to ensure it is celebrated smoothly and social harmony is maintained," said CM Shinde.
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However, certain safety restrictions and rules still apply like those seen in Karnataka. Pandals will need to install CCTV cameras, stay away from dangerous electrical poles, have meetings to ensure communal harmony, and install fire extinguishers are just some of these rules.
Other guidelines have been released in various states as well. In the Haridwar district of Uttar Pradesh, the local magistrate has announced that no immersion of idols will be allowed in the river Ganga to avoid polluting the river. "No one will be allowed to immerse idols directly in the Ganga and if someone violates then due action will be taken against such violators,” said district magistrate Vinay Shankar Pandey.
The Gujarat government also removed height restrictions on Lord Ganesh idols. The state has kept its ban on the immersion of idols made of plastic, and Plaster of Paris, among other hazardous materials and released new guidelines regarding the immersion of the idols.