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Ranchi, Hazaribag announce award for Covid safe puja pandals

Ranchi: In order to encourage implementation of covid safety norms during the festival, district administrations of Ranchi and Hazaribag have announced to award top rated Durga puja pandals which adhere to all the prescribed norms. While the Ranchi Municipal Corporation has set up an eight member team to inspect the pandals in the state capital, Hazaribag district administration has hired a private agency to do so.

RMC team is headed by an assistant town commissioner Sheetal Kumari. Pandals will be rated on 70 points under different heads in RMC. A highest of 20 points has been fixed for use of biodegradable items for distribution of bhogs/water/prasad. Ten points each has been fixed for compliance of covid-19 norms, proper source segregation of puja waste, use of eco-friendly items for puja hosting, and compliance of prescribed norms during idol immersion. Of the remaining, five points each is for overall hygiene and segregation of dry and wet waste at puja venue.

“The purpose is to encourage that puja is held in strict accordance with covid-19 norms,” said RMC’s Sheetal Kumari. “The team would award marks to each pandal under different heads including observance of Covid norms, hygiene and safety around the pandals, management of wastes, non-utilisation of single use plastic and implementation of the regulation related to idol immersion,” added the official.

Another member of the inspection team of RMC however said that he was yet to find any pandal that is total compliance with covid safety norms. “Of the three places in visited in Doranda, I found people were either without mask or there was an issue of over-crowding.”

As per the state government’s guidelines for Durga puja, entry of devotees inside the pandal is banned and organizers weren’t supposed to build theme based pandals. Bhog distribution too is prohibited at the puja venue but organizers can home deliver it. For idol immersion too, government has banned large congregations.