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Dibrugarh celebrates subdued Puja amidst pandemic
STAFF Correspondent

A decorated pandal of Municipality Durga Puja, as seen in Dibrugarh on Friday. – UB Photos
 DIBRUGARH, Oct 23 - Durga Puja, which is usually celebrated with much fanfare in the city, has been low-key this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With strict adherence to “dos and don’ts”, the puja committees have kept the festivities down to a bare minimum. Beautifully decorated puja pandals, colourful lights, cultural programmes, etc., were sorely missed this year as the district administration had directed the puja committees to restrict themselves to ‘vedic rituals’ only.

 Many have even opted to perform the puja within their own residential premises. There used to be around 100 community pujas in the Dibrugarh municipality area and its periphery, but this year the number of community pujas has come down by half. Durgotsav is being observed in a subdued manner with puja committees installing smaller idols last evening. Jyoti Nagar Shree Sarbajanik Puja Samity, which is celebrating the 27th year of the community puja, has refrained from erecting a pandal.

Puja is celebrated at Sitaram Panchayat Mandir premises with minimal decoration. There has been no lighting along the streets this year. A three-foot idol has been installed and rituals are being performed following all COVID-19 guidelines, the committee members told The Assam Tribune.

Similarly, Marwari Durga Puja Committee, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, was inaugurated by social worker Basant Garodiya yesterday in a simple function, complying with the COVID-19 guidelines. The committee has put up a two-foot image of the Goddess for puja.

The Jhalukpara community puja was also inaugurated last evening by senior members of the puja committee Vijaya Khemani and Kamakhya Prasad Bhartia.

The puja organisers, volunteers and priests were screened for COVID-19 on Panchami. They will again have to undergo COVID test after immersion. During immersion, only five members from each puja committee will be allowed and the immersion will have to be completed before sunset. Distribution of bhog or prasad has also been prohibited this year.

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