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Flu watch on Govindas,festival crowds

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Monday appealed to organisers of Dahi Handi events to limit the number of spectators and reduce the prize money.

Written by Shweta Desai | Mumbai |
August 11, 2009 12:16:32 am

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Monday appealed to organisers of Dahi Handi events to limit the number of spectators and reduce the prize money. In a meeting with public representatives,Chavan also expressed the need for “self regulation” while deciding the scale of celebrations during Janmashtami,Ganesh Chaturthi and Ramzan.

Dahi Handi organisers have decided to screen all Govindas before they form human pyramids. Anyone hoping to participate and who shows even minor symptoms of swine flu will be told to stay home. Masks will be distributed to spectators,though the organisers said screening them for symptoms would be impossible.

The event,scheduled on Friday,is held on a large scale in Mumbai and Thane. It is also a major attraction for foreign tourists. “We have sent letters to all mandals to ensure that participants or spectators with symptoms of influenza are kept out,” said NCP leader Jitendra Awhad who organises the biggest Dahi Handi in Thane with around 1,200 participants.

He said all of them will go for a health checkup. “We have already screened 400 participants,” he said. Awhad has also set up hoardings to create awareness on swine flu and will distribute masks to spectators.

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Organizers of the Mazgaon Tadwadi Dahi Handi,Mumbai’s highest,have also appealed to participants to avoid the event in case of flu-like symptoms. “We will screen our 350 participants,” said president of Mazgaon Dakshin Vibhan Sarvajanik Ganpati Mandal and Shiv Sena corporator,Yeshwant Jadhav. Their team won’t go to Pune this year.

Sankalp Pratishthan president and NCP leader Sachin Ahir,who organises the event in Worli,said that around 150 mandals registered with the organisation have been told to take precautions. “We have deputed four doctors at Jambuli Maidan where our Govindas can get themselves checked for swine flu,” he said.

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