Bhubaneswar: With the upsurge in Covid-19 cases in the State, Government has prohibited congregations at river banks, ghats, ponds, sea shore or near other water bodies to take holy bath on Makar Mela or Pongal on January 14.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena has issued an order in this regard on Tuesday.
On the occasion of Makar Sankranti/ Pongal, usually a large number of people congregate at river banks, ghats, ponds, sea shore or near other water bodies to take holy baths and perform puja.
Makar Mela is also organized or celebrated in some districts. Such congregations have large potential for spread of COVID-19 infections, said Jena.
So, the Government has prohibited congregations at water bodies throughout the State. Celebration Makar Mela is also strictly prohibited, he said.
All religious places, places of worship will remain closed for the public on Makar Sankranti or Pongal day. However religious rituals are allowed with bare minimum priests, servitors and staff. Religious congregations/ celebrations are also strictly prohibited.
The SRC has advised the people to perform the rituals/puja on the occasion of Makar Sankranti/Pongal at home with family members only avoiding mass gatherings and adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols such as physical distancing, use of face mask, covering and hand washing, hand sanitizer.
All the District Magistrates, Municipal Commissioners, Commissioner of Police and Superintendents of Police have been directed to strictly enforce the above guidelines.
“Any person found violating this order shall be punished under the provision of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other relevant laws,” warned the SRC.