Ahead of the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festivities on Friday, the Mumbai civic body has issued fresh guidelines for the Ganpati festival beginning from Friday and has banned physical darshan for devotees at public pandals as well as imposed restrictions on the number of participants in processions during the celebrations.
For bringing the idols of the deity and during their immersion, there will not be more than 10 people in the processions of public mandals and not more than five for the household Ganpatis, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in the guidelines issued on Tuesday.
"All devotees should wear masks and observe social distancing. Also, the 10 participants should have taken both the doses of COVID-19 vaccine and completed 15 days after taking the second dose," the guidelnes said.
In the wake of a rise in the number of new coronavirus infections and fear of a third wave, the BMC has banned physical darshan for devotees at the public Ganpati pandals and appealed to citizens to celebrate the festival with simplicity.
"Considering the potential danger of a third COVID-19 wave, devotees are strictly forbidden from taking darshan. It has been decided that Ganeshotsav mandals should provide darshan facility to devotees through cable network, website, Facebook or (other) social media," the civic body said.
The mandals falling in COVID-19 containment zones will have to make arrangements for the immersion of the Ganpati idols in the pandal premises or postpone it. Similarly, in sealed buildings, devotees will have to make arrangements for the immersion of idols at home, it said.
If a house/building is declared a containment zone, the rules for it should be followed during the festival, the BMC said.
The civic body has already restricted the height of household Ganpati idols to two feet and for the public mandals to four feet.
The cap on the height of Ganpati idols and restrictions on celebrations have been imposed for the second year in a row to curb the spread of the COVID-19 .
The civic body also appealed to people to avoid any action that may lead to the spread of the pandemic and said in case of any violation of rules, strict action would be taken under provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act.
On Tuesday, Mumbai reported 353 new COVID-19 cases and two fresh fatalities, which took the infection tally to 7,47,078 and the death toll to 16,000, as per official data.
The number of sealed buildings increased to 49 from 44 on Monday, an official said.
The civic body seals buildings or declares containment zones if at least five persons there test positive for the coronavirus infection.