Ganeshotsav in times of COVID-19: Only five people allowed in arrival and immersion procession, says BMC

This year, Ganeshotsav starts from August 22.

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said only five people should participate in arrival and immersion processions of domestic Lord Ganesh idols during the Ganpati festival next month in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BMC, which is spearheading Mumbai's fight against coronavirus, on Thursday made a special appeal to citizens in this regard ahead of the festival to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the metropolis, which has recorded more than 1 lakh cases and nearly 6,000 deaths so far.

Besides public installation of Lord Ganesh idols, thousands of people install such idols at home and immerse them on different days during the 10-day festival, the most popular religious event in Maharashtra.

Requesting people to refrain from doing any act that leads to the spread of COVID-19, the civic body, in a release, warned that violators may invite strict action under relevant sections of the Epidemic Act 1897, the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Indian Penal Code.

Asking people to follow safety protocols that include use of mask or shield, hand sanitizers and social distancing norms during the festival, the BMC appealed to citizens to avoid participating in big processions to protect their families from COVID-19.

This year, the festival starts from August 22.

The civic body said home-installed Ganpati idols should be made using eco-friendly materials and their height should not be more than two feet.

"Instead of using idols made of clay, if possible, worship metal or marble idols," the BMC urged the citizens.

The civic body asked people to carry out immersion of eco-friendly Ganpatis at home. If that is not possible, then idols should be immersed in artificial lakes, it said.

The BMC said taking out a common procession of domestic idols from a housing society or building should be avoided.

Also, children and elderly persons should not be allowed to visit immersion sites, it said.

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