Ganesh Chaturthi 2020: 'Come early and self-quarantine,' say Konkan villagers to Mumbaikars

Updated: Jul 07, 2020, 07:16 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Konkan belt gram panchayats list guidelines for Mumbaikars ahead of Ganeshotsav, say no public celebrations or large gatherings

An artist works on an idol at Lalbaug. Pic/Ashish Raje
An artist works on an idol at Lalbaug. Pic/Ashish Raje

The Ganesh festival is approaching, and Mumbaikars planning to go to their villages in the Konkan to celebrate, have been told by villagers to come much in advance, and self-quarantine before joining festivities, due to the fear of them carrying the COVID-19 virus.

Many gram panchayats have also issued letters with instructions for Mumbaikars and outsiders for the festival.

The Konkan is known for its traditional Ganpati festival. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the gram panchayats in Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Malvan and Raigad have started holding meetings to decide how to celebrate the festival with all precautions. Many gram panchayats such as that of Tithavali Digashi village from Vaibhavwadi Taluka in Sindhudurg District have issued letters with instructions for people coming from Mumbai for the Ganpati festival.

Preparations for Ganesh festival on at Prabhadevi. Pic/Ashish Raje
Preparations for Ganesh festival on at Prabhadevi. Pic/Ashish Raje

"Ganpati is one of the biggest festivals of the Konkan region and thousands of people from Mumbai come to their native places for it along with their families. Mumbai is the hotspot for COVID-19 and so our gram panchayat has taken a decision, that this year the festival will be celebrated with all precautions and social distancing.

We have issued a letter with instructions which the people coming to the village will have to strictly follow. Those coming to the village for Ganpati will have to come before August 8 and self-quarantine for two weeks," said Mahendra Raorane, sarpanch of Lore village in Sindhudurg District. In the letter issued by the gram panchayat, it has also been stated that no one should do a Satyanarayana Pooja during the Ganesh festival as people might gather in large numbers for it and social distancing might not be followed.

Many villagers have been also asked not to gather together in large numbers for aarti and bhajan. They have also been instructed to avoid getting out of home unnecessarily and avoid taking out processions during the visarjan. Villagers found roaming in public without masks will also have to pay a penalty.

Talking to mid-day, Ramchandra Mane, a resident of Lanja taluka in Ratnagiri said, "We already have a rule that those people coming from Mumbai or any other places have to self-quarantine for 15 days in the village. During Ganpati too we have asked family members to come 15 days prior to the festival and self-quarantine as a precautionary measure."

Every year the MSRTC bus tickets and Railway tickets for Konkan for the Ganpati festival get booked within few hours of the booking beginning. MSRTC even organises additional buses for Konkan Region during the Ganpati festival. Many Mumbaikars also go to their native places by private cars.

Deepak Kaamtekar, a resident of Malvan said, "Because of the pandemic, the government has already given instructions that those coming from Mumbai or other places to their native places, should self-quarantine for two weeks. So people coming from Mumbai and other places should take all the precautions and maintain social distancing."

Amey Sawant, a Mumbaikar who has been going to his village every Ganpati for the past 25 years said, "Mumbai is a hotspot and as a responsible citizen, everyone should take adequate precautions while visiting villages. Me and my mother will go to our village, Tarandale, in Kankavli taluka, Sindhudurg District in the third week of July and my father will join us two weeks before the festival. This year's festival will be celebrated in a simple way."

08 August
Date before when visitors are told to arrive in villages

15 days
Period for which all visitors have to self-quarantine

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