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BMC Puts Curbs on Mass Chhath Puja Celebrations in Mumbai

File photo of devotees performing Chhath Puja. (Image: PTI)

File photo of devotees performing Chhath Puja. (Image: PTI)

The 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 metropolis.

Mumbai: The Mumbai civic body on Tuesday put restrictions on mass celebration of Chhath Puja at natural water bodies in the city and asked devotees to avoid crowding in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 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 metropolis.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued guidelines about Chhath Puja celebration on mass scale to avoid the spread of the coronavirus infection. In the past, the annual festival used to see large numbers of devotees thronging prominent beaches, river banks and other water bodies to make offerings to Sun god at sunrise and sunset.

In a release, the civic body said it has decided to put restrictions on Chhath Puja celebration as it will be difficult to enforce social distancing if large numbers of devotees gather 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 BMC 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 won't crowd at natural water bodies.

According to the release, the civic body has directed ward offices to depute medical teams at puja locations and provide COVID-19 testing facilities there.

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