MUMBAI: After restricting the height of Ganesh idols to 4 ft for mandals, the state home department has also capped the size of household idols at 2 ft, urging all to keep the festival low-key this year. A circular issued on Saturday by the department’s principal secretary Amitabh Gupta urged devotees to worship a metal or marble idol at home instead of installing the customary idol made of clay or Plaster of Paris.

In case devotees do bring home clay idols, the state has requested them to carry out immersion within their premises or in artificial tanks nearby. The ten-day festival starts on August 22.
Defer Ganesh immersion till next year if possible: Govt
The home department circular has also recommended postponing immersion till next year if possible. The period cited for immersion in 2021 is either Maghi Ganeshotsav, which is in February, or the Bhadrapad Ganeshotsav of August-September 2021.
Gupta appealed to all mandals to scale down festivities to avoid crowds amid the pandemic. They have been instructed to avoid organising ‘aagman’ and ‘visarjan’ processions and make online arrangements for darshan through cable TV, websites and social media instead of encouraging physical darshan.
Mandals may accept only voluntary donations, giving preference to displaying health advisories or social messages. Instead of cultural programmes, mandals are urged to organise health camps.
Arrangements must be made for thermal screening near pandals and attention paid to adhering to physical distancing, use of masks and sanitisers for devotees. BMC has begun accepting online applications from July 10 from mandals who wish to erect pandals or a stage on roads and footpaths. The final date for applying is August 19.
Inputs by Bella Jaisinghani

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