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As Ganesh Chaturthi begins in Mumbai under the cloud of Covid-19 for the second year, the Maharashtra government has imposed a slew of restrictions to prevent the transmission of the virus. 

The Mumbai police have imposed orders under CrPC section 144 prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons between 10 and 19 September 10.

During the 10-day long Ganesh Mahotsav, the city administration has banned all kinds of a religious procession. The devotees can have `darshan' of Ganesh idols through the online mode or television. 

In Mumbai, there are around 12,000 sarvajanik (community) mandals and nearly two lakh homes where idols of the deity are installed

BMC order on Ganesh Chaturthi 

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued new guidelines, banning physical darshan at public pandals. Restrictions have also been imposed on the number of participants in processions during the celebrations.

For bringing home 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, said 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 guidelines said.

In the wake of a rise in the number of new coronavirus infections and fear of a third wave, the BMC has appealed to citizens to celebrate the festival with simplicity.

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.

Residents make arrangements 

Amidst the restrictions imposed on celebrations, people in Mumbai were seen making last-minute preparations as they visited markets to take home Lord Ganesha idol and decorative materials for the festival.

While expressing disappointment for not being able to celebrate Ganeshotsav with full fervour in the wake of the pandemic, the people were also relieved to be able to at least celebrate the festival at home, unlike last year.

"Last year we could not celebrate Ganeshotsav. This year, though with restrictions, we are going to celebrate the festival and welcome Bappa (Lord Ganesha) at home," Shweta. who was shopping in the Lalbaug market of Mumbai, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Lalit, another person visiting the market, said that the celebrations will not be the same as earlier because of Covid-19 but following the guidelines is also necessary in view of the possible third wave.

"This year, we are going to pray Bappa to eliminate Covid-19 from the world," he stated.

On the other hand, Naresh Dahibavkar, president, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti criticised the government for banning physical darshan. 

He said Ganesh mandals have contributed to the state government's efforts to provide relief to people in flood-affected Konkan region and have also been doing social activities. "The government should have considered our problems too," he said, adding, "The mandals have contributed 40 lakh towards flood relief," he said.

 

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