Mahashivratri Celebration Amid Strict COVID Guidelines in Odisha
All district administrations have been directed by the Odisha government to ensure adherence to COVID-19 guidelines at different Shiv temples in wake of the possibility of large congregations on Mahashivratri on March 11.
PK Jena, Development Commissioner, in a letter to all district collectors and municipal commissioners, pointed out that the state government has already restrained crowds of over 500 people in festivals and melas.
“This should be implemented within the temple premises. The administration may also reasonably restrict to avoid mass gatherings. As large congregation on the occasion of Mahashivratri has a large potential of spreading COVID-19 infections, Collectors and Municipal Commissioners may restrict congregations/ gatherings to such number as may be felt appropriate considering the situation there and space available within such temples and its premises to gather, strictly adhering to the COVID-19 protocols,” Jena said.
Jena further informed that any person found breaking orders shall be punishable under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other COVID-19 protocols.
Major Shiv Peeths or temples such as that of Shree Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar and Baba Akandalamani in Bhadrak have restricted night-gathering and mass lamp lighting during Mahashivratri.