LAKHIMPUR: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation, Lakhimpur district is all set to celebrate the Durga Puja festival from Thursday to Monday. However, the adverse situation caused by the pandemic has dampened the spirit of the devotees with regard to celebrating the autumnal festival with full enthusiasm and grandeur.
This year, the district administration has permitted only 38 Puja committees to organize the Durga Puja across the district. Out of them, Goddess Durga will be worshipped at 33 venues under North Lakhimpur subdivision while the puja will be held at five venues under Dhakuakhana subdivision. Under the area of North Lakhimpur headquarter, 25 committees have been permitted to hold the puja while eight committees will organize the same at Narayanpur and Bihpuriya.
The Lakhimpur district administration has already set strict guidelines for the Puja committees of the district in view of containing the COVID-19 transmission. Addressing a media briefing programme held on Wednesday at the conference hall of his office in this regard, Deputy Commissioner Dr. Jeevan B said that all the Puja committees of the district had to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocol to check the spread of the pandemic while celebrating the festival.
"From the district administration, guidelines have been already issued to the Puja committees to restrict the gathering of over 50 people near the puja mandaps. The devotees must wear face masks and use hand sanitizers while entering the puja mandaps. People wearing no mask will be charged a fine of Rs. 1,000. The Puja committees were already instructed to submit the lists of their members and volunteers to the Police Station or outpost concerned. These enlisted members and volunteers must get themselves COVID-19 tested before taking part in the puja mandaps. They cannot allow more than 15 people to enter the puja mandaps at a time. Moreover, the puja committees are restricted from organizing cultural programme, commercial fair and playing music in high volume. The worship can be continued up to 10 pm every day. Taking out any procession while going to immerse the Durga idols is also restricted. Only five permitted members and volunteers of the puja committees can be present in the idol immersion site," Dr. Jeevan B stated.
Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for members and volunteers of the Puja committees of the district started from Wednesday under the aegis of the District Health Department. It will be completed by Thursday evening before the installation of the Durga idol on the altar on the occasion of Xosthi.
In the media briefing programme, the DC appealed to the people of the district to celebrate the festival following all the precautionary measures in order to check the transmission of COVID-19 pandemic. "The pandemic situation has almost come under control in the district. So, I call upon all to extend their contribution and co-operation so that the district can be saved from any deteriorated situation regarding the pandemic," the DC asserted.
He further added that the District Health Department as well as the Police Department had made preparations to tackle any health related and untoward issues during the days of the festival. ASP Pranab Kumar Pegu, DSP (Headquarter) Runa Neog, Joint Director of District Health Society Dr. Mahendra Das and NHM officers were present in the media briefing programme.
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