The Mumbai civic body has put restrictions on mass celebration of Chhath Puja at beaches, river banks and other natural water bodies in the city in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and asked devotees to avoid crowding.
The annual festival dedicated to the Sun god will be celebrated on Friday and Saturday by people who originally hail from north India and are residing in the city.
In the past, the festival used to see large number of people thronging prominent beaches, river banks and other water bodies to make offerings to the Sun god at sunrise and sunset.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday issued guidelines about the Chhath Puja celebration on mass scale to avoid the spread of the coronavirus infection.
In a release, the BMC said it has decided to put restrictions on Chhath Puja celebration as it will be difficult to enforce social distancing if people gather in large numbers at beaches and river fronts for rituals and prayers.
No permission will be granted for mass scale celebration at natural water bodies, the BMC said, and appealed to citizens to follow COVID-19 protocols like wearing face masks, maintaining social distance and hand sanitisation while taking part in the festival.
The civic body said it will issue necessary permissions to organisations concerned at ward level for conducting Chhath Puja-related programmes on those two days.
It has asked the police department to ensure people do not crowd at natural water bodies.
The BMC has also directed ward offices to depute medical teams at puja locations and provide COVID-19 testing facilities there, according to the release.
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