Amending its previous orders, the Maharashtra government has now strictly prohibited any physical 'darshan' of Ganesh idols or entry into Ganpati Mandals (associations) for the upcoming festival of Ganesh Chaturthi which is usually celebrated at a massive scale in the state.
A government order dated June 29 had allowed for physical darshan with social distancing but a new order released on September 8 only allows for darshan via online or electronic medium.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as well on September 7 announced fresh COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the celebrations in Mumbai. According to that as well, only online darshan will be allowed in Mumbai.
On August 22, the state government had issued guidelines regarding Ganeshotsav celebrations, saying that processions should not be taken out before installing and immersing idols.
It said the heights of Lord Ganesh idols installed by sarvajanik (community) mandals and at household-level should be limited to 4 feet and 2 feet, respectively, this year. The statement said all mandals (associations) need to set up mandaps (decorated temporary covered structures) in line with the policies formulated by municipal corporations or the local administration.
The festival is to be celebrated in a simple manner this year, so there should be no pomp in the decorations by sarvajanik mandals or individuals installing idols in homes, the statement quoted Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
As Maharashtra grapples with a renewed surge in cases, the state government earlier in the day clarified that fresh curbs or lockdown-like measures would be considered only if the demands for liquid medical oxygen (LMO) crosses 700 tonnes daily.
Authorities on September 5 identified seven districts, including Pune, as regions of concern. Additional chief secretary Dr. Pradeep Vyas, in a conference chaired by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, said that Pune, Ahmednagar, Satara, Solapur, Sangli, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg are districts of concern, as reported by Hindustan Times.
Vyas also said these districts will need special caution, especially after the 'Ganesh Chaturthi'.