Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Tuesday defended his government banning public celebrations of Vinayaka Chaturthi, falling on September 10, citing the Covid-19 pandemic and said neighbouring Kerala has witnessed a surge in its daily cases due to the relaxations given during Bakrid and Onam recently. Stalin’s reply came in the state Assembly in response to BJP member Nainar Nagenthiran raising the matter in the House.
"It was because people were allowed to congregate in Kerala during Onam and Bakrid celebrations that the number of persons infected with corona has gone up there," he said, even as that state reported 25,772 fresh covid cases on Tuesday. Tamil Nadu's daily numbers also went up and down and the "number of infected has not been completely controlled," he said.
"Considering people's safety and welfare, restrictons have been announced against conduct of all religious events till September 15. This applies to Vinayaka Chaturthi also," he said. Further, the Union government has also directed implementing curbs to prevent people gathering in large numbers, till September 30, Stalin said.
However, this does not prevent people from celebrating the event in their homes, adhering to Covid safety protocol, he said. To mitigate the sufferings of potters engaged in making Vinayaka idols during the festive season, a relief of Rs 5,000 will be provided to them, he said.
This was in addition to the Rs 5,000 already given to them as assistance during the monsoon season when they cannot take up their vocation, Stalin added.