SOPs for Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in Panaji soon: Mayor

Panaji, July 29 (IANS) The state capital of Goa, Panaji, will soon put SOPs in place for the upcoming festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, city mayor Uday Madkaikar said on Wednesday, adding that restrictions could be imposed at immersion points in order to prevent overcrowding.

“Our municipal officials are meeting the police to prepare guidelines. We cannot have crowd anymore (in view of Covid-19). We will develop a special SOP after discussion,” Madkaikar told reporters here.

“We could be looking at a possibility where only two persons from each household may be allowed to step out for visarjan (immersion ceremony),” the mayor of the Corporation of the City of Panaji also said. The city has five points for immersion of Ganesh idols after the culmination of the festival.

The mayor also said that civic authorities were also looking at creating a staggered schedule for immersion of idols for worshippers from different parts of the city, in order to prevent overcrowding.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has witnessed a sustained spike in Goa, Madkaikar also said that the manner in which the festival — which is scheduled to commence on August 22 — is celebrated in the streets of Goa as well as in individual homes, may need to be changed.

“People used to visit each others’ homes for aartis (prayers), but that may not be advisable now because of the pandemic,” Madkaikar said.

Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popular Hindu festival of Goa.