An artist gives a touch-up to the idol of Goddess Durga ahead of the Durga Puja festival, in Kolkata on Oct. 11. (ANI photo)

NEW DELHI – The Delhi government has decided to go ahead with Ramila and Durga Puja celebrations this year with precautions amid COVID-19 in the national capital. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority, in an order Oct. 11, issued directions to all authorities to ensure strict compliance of the Standard Operating Procedures to combat COVID-19, issued by it and other concerned authorities.

As per the order, fairs, food-stalls (inside and outside the venues), jhoolas (swings and rides), rallies, exhibitions and processions will not be permitted during festivals till Oct. 31 in Delhi.

"All event organizers will have to obtain requisite permission from District Magistrate concerned for organizing festival events, well in advance, besides obtaining permission from all other authorities concerned as per applicable laws/rules and practice in vogue," the order reads.

"Each such permission (which is applied to District Magistrate concerned) shall be jointly granted by District Magistrate and District DCP concerned on the basis of joint inspection report of area Executive Magistrate, area SHO and Licensing Inspector of Municipal Corporation concerned which shall clearly certify that the festival/ celebrations site is suitable for the conduct of the event and meets following SOPs," it added.

The capacity of each event site will be decided on the basis of area and social distancing norms according to the Ministry of Home Affairs norms.

"In closed space, a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 persons. In open spaces, the capacity should be in keeping the size of the ground or space in the view, and with the strict observance of social distancing norms," it said.

"Since the capacity of each open space shall invariably vary according to its size, the seating capacity for each such site must be determined strictly according to the norms mandated for ensuring social distancing and observance of COVID-appropriate behavior and this capacity shall be certified by District Magistrate and District DCP concerned," the order stated.

Event organizer(s) shall ensure separate entry and exit at each event site, ground or venue which shall be strictly regulated and only be allowed to persons with face masks.

DDMA said that the database of all event sites permitted in the district must be maintained by DM concerned and a consolidated database of all such event sites in NCT of Delhi shall be maintained by the Divisional Commissioner, GNCT of Delhi.

District Magistrate concerned shall also make arrangements for sample videography of the permitted event sites to ensure adherence to social distancing and other relevant norms.

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