Visakhapatnam: Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations to be low key this 2020

Ahead of festivities, makers readying Ganesh idols in Visakhapatnam 	Photo: A Pydiraju
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Ahead of festivities, makers readying Ganesh idols in Visakhapatnam Photo: A Pydiraju

Highlights

  • Pandal arrangement largely depends on the permission guidelines which are yet to be announced, says G Sunil, member of Sri Ganesh Yuvajana Seva Sangham, Simhachalam, which has been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi on a grand scale since 1984
  • Most organisers from various neighbourhoods refrain from large-scale celebrations

Visakhapatnam: With the threat of coronavirus pandemic looming large, it is going to be low-key Ganesh festivities this year.

Having said that, 'not-so-tall' idols and minimal crowd are going to be the 'norms' this Ganesh Chaturthi as compared to the pomp and gaiety the festival used to exude until last year.

Strict budgets and adherence to safety protocols are expected to make organisers go for a subdued celebration. Even those organising festivities for the past three decades are not favouring elaborated rituals this time. "The pandal arrangement largely depends on the permission guidelines which are yet to be announced. Until we have clarity on that, it is difficult to plan for the event," opines G Sunil, member of Sri Ganesh Yuvajana Seva Sangham, Simhachalam, which has been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi on a grand scale since 1984.

Most organisers from various neighbourhoods refrain from large-scale celebrations. Unlike the earlier Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, this year, they do expect a poor turnout at the pandals. "We have been organising the festivities for the past 35 years without a break. But, this time, expenses are likely to go up and devotees too may not visit the pandal due to the coronavirus threat. This apart, choice for the idols to be kept at the pandal is limited. Even if permission is sought at the last moment, getting the idol according to our requirement will be another challenge," says P Uma Maheswara Rao, a pandal organiser at Old Gopalapatnam.

Normally, the festivities would continue for nine days and in some localities, the period will get extended for 21 days. In many areas, organisers vie with one another to erect the longest Ganesh idol during the festivities. But the scene is entirely different this time as many are settling for medium-sized Ganesh idols. "Even for this, we have no clarity whether to go ahead or not. We wanted to take a break this year and hence decided against organising the festivities. Since community transmission of the virus is at its peak in the district, we wanted to do our bit to avoid mass gathering," says Dadi Appa Rao, president of Gopalapatnam Traders Association.

The cap on the height of the idol, immersion points and the number of persons allowed at a pandal at a time are yet to be decided. "Though guidelines pertaining to immersion points and procession protocols are yet to be declared, it is certainly not going to be the same as earlier Ganesh festivities. Permission should be sought by the festival organisers from the respective police station limits before going ahead with the pandal arrangements. Given the pandemic situation, considering safety precautions is of paramount importance and a holistic approach will be followed this festival," asserts Aishwarya Rastogi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-I).

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