Delhi: Ramlila, Puja on as State govt relaxes curbs till October 31; Committees reluctant in organizing events

Curbs on gatherings in Delhi have been temporarily withdrawn for 20 days till October 31 in view of the festival season. However, the ceiling on the number of attendees will continue. The order was issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Sunday after a review. This has paved the way for Ramlila and Durga Puja celebrations in the national capital.

The order issued by Delhi chief secretary and DDMA chairman Vijay Dev stated, “The capacity of each event site will be decided on the basis of area and social distancing norms laid down by Ministry of Home Affairs. In closed spaces, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 persons, and in open spaces, keeping the size of the ground or space in view and with the strict observance of social distancing norms.”

As per the order, the seating capacity of each open space will vary according to its size and will be decided and certified by the district magistrate and the deputy commissioner of police concerned. Moreover, no one will be allowed to stand or squat (sitting on the ground) as only sitting on chairs with social distancing will be permitted.

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The order also mentioned that fairs, food stalls (inside or outside the venue), rallies, swings, exhibitions, and processions will not be permitted during the celebrations.

Considering the stringent restrictions, both small scale and large scale Ramlila Committees in Delhi have cancelled their plans to organise the event this year, as per reports.

According to a report by The Indian Express, representatives of various Ramlila committees also said that the situation due to Covid-19 anyway means, holding large-scale gatherings will not be a very suitable decision keeping public safety in mind.

The Indian Express quoted Arjun Kumar of Lav Kush Ramlila Committee – long time organizer of Ramlila event at Red Fort front lawns – as saying, “We begin our preparations at least two months in advance. Dusshera is on October 25 and DDMA authorities issued fresh guidelines yesterday. Earlier, they couldn’t do due to a rising number of cases. But, it is not possible to make arrangements at the last moment, so we have decided to not hold it this year.”

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