Dist admin gears up for upcoming festive season amid Covid outbreak | Varanasi News


Varanasi: While the next guidelines of the state government are awaited to clear how the festivals of Navratra, Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali and Dev Deepawali will be celebrated amidst Covid-19 menace, the district administration and police have started making preparations to meet the challenges of handling the festive season crowd.
At a time when the district is getting new 1,000 Covid-19 positive patients added to its tally in every 5-7 days, the officials are worried as the city, famous as mini-Bengal, indulges in Durga Puja celebrations in a grand style. Navratra and Durga Puja celebrations will start from October 17 and conclude on Dussehra falling on October 25. Major Ramlilas are also staged during the same period.
Talking to TOI on Sunday, the district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma admitted that, “In view of the continuing trend of sharp rise in Covid-19 graph, ground realities of the city and the gatherings which take place in the city during festival period, we had convened a joint meeting of administration and police officials on Saturday evening. We are waiting for the next guideline of the government expected on September 21 as it will clear how the forthcoming festivals will be observed.”
The officials are worried as most temples of Goddess Durga, where devotees throng in a large number on particular days of Navratra, and also the Durga Puja pandals are located in congested lanes. The DM said that grand scale celebration like past years will be difficult to hold in the city this year while other major reason to wait for the next guideline of the government is to take decisions about how to give permissions for staging of traditional Ramlilas in the city.
Another reason of worry for the officials is the rush of buyers in the markets during the festival season as people from adjoining districts also reach the city for festiveal shopping. The DM said that all the magistrates and circle officers of police had been asked to finalise traffic plans in advance to avoid crowding at any place during festivities. During Dev Deepawali celebrations in 2019, chaotic scenes took place, he said adding that the officials were directed to take lessons from past incidents while finalising a traffic plan for the festival period.

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