Guwahati, Sept 15: The State Government today spelt out a set of guidelines for the ensuing festival season prohibiting cultural programmes and fairs at puja venues even as the health department stepped up efforts to ensure that the entire State's eligible population gets at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine before the commencement of Durga Puja.
Health Minister Keshab Mahanta said the upcoming Viswakarma Puja will be observed while adhering to the restrictions announced in the previous SoP.
"For Durga Puja, the committees will have to seek permission from the DC. All committee members will have to be vaccinated with at least one dose," he said.
The idols will have to be smaller in size so that lesser people are needed to carry them.
The puja pandals will have to be open and spacious to ensure social distancing amongst devotees and organizers. Devotees above eighteen years of age will be allowed to enter a pandal premise only if they are vaccinated with at least one dose.
The committee members and priests will be tested and the premises will have to be sanitized before and at the end of the festival.
"An elaborate plan will have to be prepared by the committees to ensure that the Covid protocols are followed. The DCs will supervise and issue necessary directions. There is no restriction on observing the traditional rituals, but fairs and fanfare will have to be avoided," Mahanta said.
The inauguration of puja pandal and immersion of Durga idol will have to be a low-key affair with minimum people, even though the SoP did not specify the number of people to be allowed.
Mahanta said the health department has stepped up its vaccination drive and from tomorrow Guardian Ministers and Guardian secretaries will be camping in their respective districts to oversee the immunization programmes.
"What we are targeting is that every eligible person in the State should get at least one dose of the vaccine before October 12, the beginning of the Durga Puja," he said.