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Ganpati Bappa to arrive in low-key, avoiding crowds, going digital with online darshan and live aarti

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Image Courtesy: AFP

As COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the country, it seems not only humans, but even Gods are going low-key, wearing masks, avoiding crowds and going digital this year for Ganesh Chaturthi which starts on Saturday.

As Maharashtra continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged people of Maharashtra to avoid crowding during the festival and follow guidelines about the height of idols and their immersion. Mumbai is still battling heavily with COVID-19 cases and in such circumstances, people should follow the norms and keep safe.

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To pass this message loud and clear, many Ganesha Idols would be wearing masks this year. Borivali East, Navghar Ganesh Pandal told Afternoon Voice, “If people see Idol wearing a mask, it will give them a reminder that they cannot take the situation at ease, it’s way of spreading the message”.

With everything going virtual in these pandemic times, Ganesha will also give darshan on Zoom, Facebook and Google platforms during the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

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On the other hand, Mira Road station Ganesha would be arriving crushing the corona under its feet. This year Ganesh pandals across Mumbai would be adopting various themes related to the ongoing pandemic. As far as the gathering is concerned, people would be scanning and taking safety measures before they seek darshan. Maharashtra has the highest burden of Covid-19 cases in India with over 1.13 lakh confirmed cases. As Ganeshotsav, is among Maharashtra’s most popular festivals, it will still be celebrated this August but maybe devoid of its usual pomp.

BMC in a circular and said that devotees cannot immerse the idols on their own. The civic body has issued instructions indicating that the city has 70 natural ponds and 167 artificial ponds have been created.

“It is true that the festival will not be celebrated with much fanfare this year. Since the threat from coronavirus is not yet over, there will be no crowds and no processions. We will have to take all precautions and celebrate the festival in a very simple way”, said Thackeray, who held a review meeting on a video conference on the law and order situation during upcoming Ganesh festival. Thackeray said everyone needs to think of how the festival can be celebrated more simply.

“We have started ‘Mission Begin Again’ in the state. So, we will have to take all the steps cautiously. We will take care that the Ganesh festival tradition is not broken under any condition but we will also have to remember social responsibility. We should celebrate the festival in such a way that will set an example before the world”, said the chief minister further urging Ganesh mandals to exercise caution and cooperate with the government.

According to the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGUSS), Mumbai has about 12 thousand mandals in Public Places and Housing societies, but this year just 7,200 applications are received for mandals.

Thackeray also thanked Ganesh mandals from Pune and other places who have decided to celebrate the festival in a low-key manner. He also thanked them for their contribution to the Chief Minister Relief Fund and for organizing various social initiatives.

Maharashtra govt has issued some guidelines to be followed:

• The Maharashtra government made it mandatory for all ‘mandals’ to take prior permission from the concerned municipality or local authority for Ganeshotsav celebrations.
• The government has capped the maximum idol height at 4 feet Even the idols installed at home cannot be taller than two feet.
• Ganesh Mandals to postpone immersion of idols.
• Processions to mark arrival and immersion of idols will not be allowed
• There should be no crowds during daily aarti’ and noise pollution norms must be followed

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