Updated: September 3, 2021 1:46:25 pm
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar Friday said the state government will not impose any additional restriction to avoid crowding during Ganesh Chaturthi. However, in the same breath, he added if violations of Covid-19 norms are seen on the first day of the festival, stringent curbs will be imposed from the next day.
The ten-day festival, celebrated with great enthusiasm in Pune, will commence on September 10. Like last year, this year too it’s likely to remain a low-key affair with major Ganesh mandals in the city talking of toning down the event to avoid crowding.
Pawar, who chaired the weekly Covid-19 review meeting at the city’s Council Hall, said Ganesh Chaturthi and possible crowding was discussed at the meeting with senior officers of the administration and elected representatives of all parties.
“It was seen last year that crowded places were recording a greater number of Covid cases. In today’s meeting, it was discussed if additional restrictions should be imposed in the city during the festival but we have decided against it. The big mandals have announced their plans to go for a toned-down festival. Since mandals won’t put up dekhavas, there’s no question of people crowding till late at night. However, we will keep an eye and if crowding happens on the first day of the festival, stringent curbs will be imposed from the next day. People can avoid this by following the norms,” said Pawar.
Commenting on the campaigns launched by BJP and MNS to reopen the temples, Pawar said BJP leaders in the state should be informed about what their government in the Centre has told the state about celebration of the upcoming festivals.
“We are following the Union government’s directives which asked us to be cautious during Dahi Handi and Ganesh Festivals to avoid a surge in the Covid-19 infections. Also, there’s no need for anyone to protest for the reopening of temples and religious places because when the time is right the state government will do it on a priority basis. We don’t want to create any impediments in matters of faith but at the moment, it’s important to ensure that the health and lives of citizens are safeguarded,” said Pawar.
He said the state government’s push to get teaching and non-teaching staff from the schools vaccinated is bearing good results.
“We are seeing increased vaccinations among public schools. We will have to push private schools a bit on this. This is a major step in reopening of the schools,” Pawar said.
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