Goa government withdraws Covid SOPs for Ganesh festival; CM Pramod Sawant says Chaturthi must be fervently celebrated
Hours after the Goa government issued the appropriate Covid guidelines for Ganesh Chaturthi, a large state festival that begins on September 10, it withdrew them after Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said he didn’t personally disagreed with the restrictions on priests visiting houses for individual pujas.
“Personally, I don’t agree with some of the guidelines that have been published in the SoP, especially the one that prevents priests from going to individual homes for puja. Ganesh Chaturthi is Goa’s most important festival and such rituals are an integral part of it, ”Sawant said in a tweet.
Prevailing the expert committee of doctors who had suggested the guidelines for the next festival, Sawant said, “Although the expert committee suggested such restrictions, I asked the administration to immediately withdraw the SOP. . Chaturthi should be celebrated with total fervor while taking all necessary precautions, given the pandemic. May Lord Ganesh bless us all.
The SOPs had listed several guidelines to be followed during the ten days of the festival, such as discouraging the elderly and children from visiting Chitrashalas (idol-making workshops), prohibiting people whose members are isolated at home from hosting or to visit other people, restrict idol immersion time from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., face coverings and hand sanitizers mandatory, no more than five people in vehicles carrying Ganesh idols. SOPs also prevented people in containment areas from associating with neighbors or strangers during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Among the general instructions, the SOPs had declared: “The use of firecrackers, fireworks, etc. in violation of the standards set by the Pollution Control Board or any other noise and air pollution authority is prohibited because post-Covid patients may suffer from an exacerbation of symptoms as a direct impact of pollution.
“We pulled the SOPs with everyone’s feelings in mind. These were suggestions made by the doctors of the expert committee following a meeting held under the instructions of the High Court. And they were considered SOPs just as they usually were on the record. Ganesh Chaturthi is a state festival and there is enthusiasm about it in every household. I understand people’s feelings. Everyone wants a priest to come to their home and perform a puja and everyone also wants to have a proper Ganpati immersion. I can only call on people to take all precautions to ensure that there is no spread of Covid-19. Under Section 144, routine SOPs issued by collectors must be followed and there must be no congestion, ”Sawant said.
He said isolated patients at home should take all necessary precautions and about the rest there should be no panic among the people. “Considering this is a major festival, we have withdrawn the SOPs. I think if all Goenkars take the proper precautions, there is no need for separate SOPs, ”Sawant said.