Guwahati: Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today announced a set of rules and restrictions to be followed by the people of Assam during the period of Durga Puja 2020, to be held later in the month of October.
"After 10 pm, the puja mandap has to be closed down. Secondly, two men cannot do pillion riding. Women and children can, but two men cannot. Cultural functions and competitions are prohibited, but aarti shall be allowed," Biswa Sarma said, addressing the media.
Sarma also informed that the restaurants shall be closed down by 9 pm during the puja days. However, the DCs can modify some of these guidelines, he said. "Apart from these, people have to ensure the wearing of masks and usage of hand sanitizers," he added.
Mass immersion shall not be allowed this time around, Sarma said, adding that only a single idol shall be immersed at a time. "Permission to immerse the idols should be taken 2-3 days prior from the district administrations. Processions accompanying the idols shall not be allowed."
The Minister further stated that not more than 50 people be allowed into the puja pandals at a time.
What are the new rules?
Sarma said that the organizers who plan to host Durga pujas should ask for permission from the district administrations. Secondly, the organizers of the pujas should hold pujas in pandals with open roofs.
On the fifth day of the puja, the priests, assistant priests, cooks, as well as puja committee members will be subjected to COVID-19 tests, the Health Minister said. Again, these same people would be tested after Visharjan/immersion, he announced.
"If we can be vigilant during these 3 days of Durga puja, the COVID-19 success of the past one week or so will continue", Sarma said. The Minister today further announced that the process of flattening of the COVID-19 curve has officially begun in Assam.