K M Dayashankar
KARIMNAGAR: Vinaya Chaturthi, the 10-day festival got off to a colourful and religious start amid fanfare in various parts of the integrated Karimnagar district on Friday.
Of course, the mandatory Covid-19 norm goes for a toss at all the public places as part of the celebrations. All the markets were flooded with people selling the idols, flowers and leaves for the conduct of the festival. People had thronged the markets for the purchase of the idols and other puja materials but flouted the Covid norms.
Incidentally, the violations were galore at various Ganesh mandaps in the district with the people and organisers not wearing at least the facemask. Though the authorities had instructed the organisers to maintain social distancing, wearing of facemasks and use of sanitisers at the mandaps, it was found anywhere in the district. Hordes of people were found at all the mandaps without facemasks. Even the VIPs visiting the mandaps to participate in the puja rituals did not wear the mask.
After a gloomy 2020 year, where the devotees could not celebrate the festival due to the outbreak of the deadly virus, the devotees heaved a sigh of relief with the government allowing them to conduct the festival in public places. Even as the authorities had informed the people not to install the idols in public places, it was free for all and the organisers had erected the Ganesh mandaps on the busy roads causing serious inconvenience to the road users.
At the busy Tower Circle business area, the organisers had erected a Ganesh mandap causing huge damage to the ancient and heritage Tower structure, which was having a history of over 100 years. The organisers had erected mandap all around the heritage Tower structure and causing traffic snarls at the busy. This is not alone, the organisers would even occupy the busy place for the ensuing Durga navarathri celebrations and embarrass the road users with the encroachments and causing damage to the heritage structure.
Incidentally, the majority of the Ganesh mandap organisers and the devotees had accorded priority for worshipping clay idols at public places and also at homes. It would be really a herculean task for the distribution to ensure that the people follow the mandatory Covid norms at all the Ganesh mandaps and also other public places during these festivities to check the spread of the deadly virus.
Ironically, the children were seen at all the Ganesh mandaps chilling out without wearing any facemasks and maintaining social distancing.