Holi 2021 is almost upon is. Amid the rising COVID-19 cases, we have compiled a list of different states and UT’s who have imposed a ban on Holi Celebrations due to the pandemic. On Friday the country registered another 62,276 fresh cases which pushed the nation’s total COVID-19 case total to 1,19,66,383. Due to the sudden surge, multiple states across the country were given notices by the Centre to impose fresh bans under the Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act.
What is the Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act?
According to Disaster Management Act’s Section 22, State governments should examine the vulnerability of different parts of the State to different forms of disasters and specify measures to be taken for their prevention or mitigation. They are also asked to “lay down guidelines for preparation of disaster management plans by the departments of the Government of the State and the District Authorities”. Most importantly, State Governments are asked to, give “directions to any Department of the Government of the State or any other authority or body in the State regarding actions to be taken in response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.”
What it means in the context of the current pandemic is that the State Governments have been asked to evaluate the pandemic’s impact in their respective states, and ensure that the upcoming festival season, starting with Holi, doesn’t aggravate the situation further.
With that said, let’s take a look at the measures different states and union territories have taken for the upcoming festival of Holi.
One of the most densely populated state in India; Maharashtra has been contributing most in the rising COVID-19 cases in the country. To curb the wave, the BMC earlier this week announced a complete ban on all private and public Holi and Rang Panchami celebrations in Mumbai. Meanwhile, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation also issued a complete ban on all Holi celebrations and said that no more than 5 people will be allowed to be at one place in the public.
Earlier on Friday, the Goa administration issued fresh guidelines for Holi, Easter and Shab-e-Barat celebration. According to Goa Health Secretary Gautami Parmekar, authorities are asked to ensure no mass celebrations, congregations during Holi and the aforementioned festivals take place in public places, grounds, etc.
Following the suite, the state of Uttarakhand, whose Chief Minister himself tested COVID-19 positive recently, issued new Holi celebration guidelines. Unlike other states that have imposed a complete ban on any public gathering, Uttarakhand is allowing celebrations, but only at 50% capacity of a particular venue. The government also issued an advice saying the people over 60 years and below 10 years should avoid any celebration.
Karnataka has also imposed ban on all public gatherings for Holi, Ugadi and Good Friday across the states. No congregations would be allowed in public places like grounds, parks halls, markets and religious places. The announcement came from Karnataka’s Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar who took to Twitter and wrote, “In order to contain the second wave of Covid-19, public celebrations, gatherings and congregations shall not be allowed during the upcoming festivals like Holi, Ugadi, Shab-e-Barat & Good Friday. “Let’s celebrate festivals in a simple, meaningful way and stop the spread of infection.”
In order to contain the second wave of Covid-19, public celebrations, gatherings & congregations shall not be allowed during the upcoming festivals like Holi, Ugadi, Shab-e-Barat & Good Friday.
Let's celebrate festivals in a simple, meaningful way & stop the spread of infection. pic.twitter.com/zqEHscSusN
— Dr Sudhakar K (@mla_sudhakar) March 25, 2021
Earlier this week, the Gujarat government announced a complete ban on mass gatherings at public places for Holi (better known as Dhuleti in the state) on March 29. However, unlike other states, Gujarat government has allowed Holika Dahan ceremony at societies and such on March 28 and has applied social distancing norms at all such places.
Madhya Pradesh too has been seeing a sharp spike in daily fresh COVID-19 cases and due to that lockdowns have been imposed in Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur on Sundays. The state CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan earlier this week announced that all the restaurants, cafes and markets will be closed for dine-in and will only be allowed to operate till 9 PM. All festivities and functions involving mass public gathering have been banned.
The Delhi’s DDMA (Delhi Disaster Management Authority) earlier on Tuesday this week said that no public celebrations for Holi, Navratri and other upcoming festivals at religious places, grounds and markets will be allowed till further announcement. Chief Secretary of DDMA Dev in his order said, “All authorities concerned will ensure that public celebrations and gatherings, congregations during upcoming festivals like Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Navaratri etc shall not be allowed in public places/public grounds/public parks/markets/religious places etc in NCT of Delhi.”
Earlier this week, the Press Trust of India was informed by Odisha-Special relief commissioner PK Jena that all Holi celebrations have been banned in public places like grounds and halls. The state administrations have also been tasked to keep an vigilant eye on these places and has surveillance at the state airport and railway station has increased.
So far no official ban announcement has come from the state. However, CM Bhupesh Baghel had a high-level meeting last week on Sunday where he asked the state administration to ensure that people follow all the COVID-19 safety norms during the celebration of Holi to curb the spread and the second wave.