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Durga Puja & Ramlila likely to be a low-key affair this year in city

Durga Puja & Ramlila likely to be a low-key affair this year in city
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New Delhi: Even as the annual festive season beckons, when people across the country gear up to pay homage to Goddess Durga and watch the Ravan Dahan, the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a spanner over the capital's extravagant celebrations and fanfare that one usually saw during previous years.

Chittaranjan Park's Durga Puja Committees said that the occasion this time will be reduced to a ghot puja( worshipping an earthen pot) on a single day while the public will not be allowed to flock in like they did earlier in accordance with health protocols. Narayan Dey, Secretary at Mela Ground Durga Puja Samiti at C.R Park said that rituals will be performed on a single day and footfall will be capped at 50 persons. "We have also done away with the lunch and prasad that people usually gorge on while pandal-hopping," he said.

Tamal Rakshit, Executive Member of B-Block Durga Puja Samiti said they will not allow any guests to attend the rituals adding that only one priest and his helper will be allowed to perform the puja. "If we allow even one person in, everyone will start trickling in which will not be manageable," he said.

Similarly, drawing funds, a crucial part of the 4-day event, has also been disbanded due to the muted affair. "Compared to previous years, when the event was sponsored by big MNC's, this year we are somehow contributing among ourselves and making the puja happen," Rakshit added.

"We had our silver jubilee celebrations last year and were even awarded for our theme pujo but this year neither will there be a sizeable footfall nor a large expenditure involved," lamented A.K Bose, President of Dakshit Palli Durga Puja Samiti.

Meanwhile, organizers of Ramlila, a popular event leading up to Dussehra, said that despite holding several meetings and discussions, a roadmap isn't in sight yet. Arjun Kumar, member of the Lav Kush Ramlila Committee said that even if they get permission to go ahead with the event, the cap of 100 on social gatherings has cast a shadow over their business. "The Ramlila actors themselves add up to more than 250 then how can we expect an audience," Kumar said.

"Once the government nod comes in, we might have to switch online in the form of broadcasting dramas on Youtube or telecast last year's show on T.V. in order to keep the tradition going," Anil Garg, General Secretary of Sri Ram Dharmik Leela Committee said.

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