The Dasara festival in Vijayawada will be a quiet affair this year, with city police prohibiting any public gatherings, processions, pandals and loudspeakers for celebrations this year. Citing the high number of COVID-19 cases in the city, the Vijayawada Police Commissioner’s office issued a statement on Wednesday saying no public gatherings and celebrations will be permitted for Dasara.
Vijayawada residents have been asked to celebrate the festival in their respective houses while taking necessary precautions.
“No pandals or idols can be set up in streets and apartments in the city, no mics and DJ sound boxes to be used, no gatherings, no processions of the idol while playing drums will be allowed,” a press release from the Vijayawada Police Commissionerate said.
The Dasara festival, preceded by the nine-day Navaratri period, is usually a huge event in Vijayawada. Lakhs of devotees arrive in the city to visit the Kanaka Durga temple every year during this period. However, due to COVID-19, this year, the temple has restricted entry to a maximum of 10,000 devotees per day, according to reports. Entry is only allowed through prior online booking of darshan slots, and the temple management has said that safety protocols will be maintained by ensuring distancing and availability of sanitiser.
Throughout the period of celebrations, from October 17 to 25, traffic diversions have been arranged for medium and heavy-duty vehicles travelling between Visakhapatnam and Chennai, and Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad. These vehicles will have to avoid going through Vijayawada and take alternative routes, to avoid the Kanaka Durga Temple route.
As of Wednesday, Krishna district had registered 2,660 active COVID-19 cases.
With Section 30 of The Police Act (Regulation of public assemblies and processions) and Section 144 of the CrPC being in effect in the city, anyone violating them will face consequences, Vijayawada police have said.