The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal in an order issued on 23 March prohibited public and private celebrations of the upcoming festival of Holi in view of the rising Covid-19 cases in the city.
The circular issued by the BMC head stated that considering the surge in cases and in view to avoid any crowding in the city, Holi Dahan or the burning of Holika’s symbolic pyre on 28 March and Rangpanchmi celebrations on 29 March whether in private or public places will not be allowed.
Mumbai reported 3,512 new Covid-19 cases and 8 deaths today. The order states that in view of the My Family, My Responsibility’ campaign citizens also should try and avoid having any celebrations themselves.
Many housing societies celebrate the Holika pyre and Holi within their compounds every year. The new surge, at the same time, has been observed the most in housing societies.
On Monday, during BMC random antigen testing, seven hawkers from a vegetable market in the Dadar area were found positive.
While several districts of Maharashtra have imposed lockdown and restrictions to contain the rise in the number of daily infections, the BMC authorities have so far ruled out any lockdown or night curfew in the city in near future.
Apart from deploying marshals to check whether people are wearing masks and adhering to social distancing norms, the BMC is strengthening its testing, tracking measures.
The order states that citizens have been requested to coperate with the authorities or else action can be initiated against them under the epidemic act 1897. disaster management act 2005 and IPC act 1860.
Corporator Swapna Mhatre, while welcoming the move, said that while restrictions were good, citizens should be allowed to ensure that the tradition is followed. “The entire past year has gone with citizens observing no festival. While now they should be allowed to observe the day but in case anyone flouts the rule strict action must be strictly initiated against them,” said Mhatre.
Activist Anil Galgali said that an order as such was needed as considering that everything has opened up, people are not taking the new surge seriously. “If there is a probationary order they citizens would at least follow it and accordingly action can be taken if required,” he said.