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Low key Mahasaptami at Dimapur

Durga Puja Dimapur

DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 12: Durga Puja festivities, which began with Mahasaptami on Tuesday, remained a low key affair at Dimapur as very few devotees were seen at different puja pandals.
Unlike last year when the Durga Puja celebration was limited only to temples, this year the district administration had allowed at least 50 Puja Committees to observe the festival. However, due to shortage of time and financial constraints, the Puja Committees kept the puja pandals small and eco-friendly.

Nagaland Government had issued the Durga Puja guidelines along with the SOPs only on October 1, just 11 days before the puja, while the Dimapur District administration issued the permission on October 6.
Sources told Nagaland Page that there had been confusion regarding celebration of Durga Puja this year as the Puja Committees feared that the Government may not allow the celebration like last year due to the COVID pandemic. They said that in States like Assam, the Government had issued the guidelines a month ago, giving the Puja Committee ample time to prepare for the celebrations but in Dimapur the permission came only 6 days before the Puja.
Sources maintained that despite short notice, many Puja Committee managed to erect pandals in their respective areas, while many committees decided not to observe due to time and financial constraints
Durga Puja at Durga Mandir Hall used be an attraction every year and drew lots of revellers, but this year, they too maintained a low key. However, the organizers say that people will throng the Mandir tomorrow and day after and similar crowds will be seen at other puja pandals, as they missed the celebrations last year.

As the COVID pandemic is still a matter of concern, the Puja Committees have taken enough precautions. While some committees have deployed personnel with hand sanitizers at the entry points to sanitize the visitors, many committees are yet to take this precaution.
The State Government’s Puja guidelines clearly mentions about following the COVID protocols. According to the guidelines issued by Principal Secretary, Abhijit Sinha, the puja pandals would be allowed to be set up only outside the containment zones. The timing for the visit of the devotees to the pandals would be from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the evening.
The maximum number of persons including organizers that may be allowed to gather at any time in the puja pandals should be up to 50% of the capacity, subject to adherence to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour such as maintenance of social distancing, wearing of masks, etc.
All visitors to puja location would be subject to thermal scanning by puja organizers and no person with any symptom related to COVID-19 would be allowed to enter the puja pandals, the guidelines stated, adding in case any person/visitor to puja pandal is suspected to be symptomatic with COVID-19, it would be the responsibility of the puja organizers to inform the nearest Government medical facility and arrange for shifting of such person to that medical facility.

Meanwhile, the Hindu Seva Samiti has also issued a set of guidelines to be followed by the Puja Committees in Dimapur. It has also advised people not to bring children below 10 years and senior citizen above 65 years due to pandemic and requested all devotees to visit puja pandals till 9 p.m. only.
On Wednesday, people will celebrate Mahaashtami and on Thursday Mahanavani. The festivities will end on Friday with the immersion of the idols at River Dhansiri and celebration of Vijaya Dashami or Dussehra.
The Hindu Seva Samiti has requested all Puja Committees to wear ethnic/traditional costumes or white Kurta-pyjama during the immersion procession in order to show uniformity and integrity.
In order to control the river pollution, the HSS has requested all puja committee not to bring any type of waste along with the ldols. Every Puja Committee have been requested to bring any unattended idol lying on the road side for immersion so that the idols are not desecrated.
All Puja Committees are requested to control their own members and prevent scuffles with the other puja committees or general public.

All Puja committees are given 15 Volunteer cards along with 2 guest cards. Only those card holders and are vaccinated would be permitted inside the Ghat.
(Page News Service)