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Cachar DC issues SOP contradicting Dept. of Health's guidelines, bans Puja in temporary pandals

The Chairperson of the District Disaster Management Authority and the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar has issued another standard operating procedure contradicting the SOP issued by the Department of Health yesterday. The Health Minister of Assam clearly said that there is no restriction when it comes to the number of Durga Puja. Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the committees must organise Durga Puja in open pandals and not in closed structure in order to avoid congregation and contamination.

Today’s SOP, issued by the Cachar department rejects Health Department’s SOP and puts a ban on Durga Puja in temporary pandals.

The guidelines mentioned in the order signed by the deputy commissioner states:

Places where Durga Puja will be allowed:

1. Idol puja celebration will only be allowed in places where the puja committee has permanent concrete Sthapit Mandir or Mandap. Temporary construction of puja pandals will not be allowed.

2. Puja committees are allowed to open the mandaps/mandir at 5.00a.m in the morning and are requested to shut down (with barricades) by 10p.m starting from Panchami to Navami.

Puja rituals & other responsibilities of Puja Committees

1. Distribution of wet prasad to devotees by any Puja Committee is strictly prohibited.

2. Devotees willing to offer puja items(other than edible ones) to the deities will have to enroll themselves way ahead before the puja starts with the concerned puja committee and hand over the same prior to the start of Sashthi (First Day of Puja) following all sanitisation protocols.

3. Devotees willing to offer puja items (edible ones like sweets, fruits, vegetables, etc) to the deities will have to enroll themselves way ahead before the puja starts with the concerned puja committee and hand over the same in the form of cash (to be purchased by puja committee members) before the start of Sashthi(First Day of Puja).

4. All Puja committes should engage an adequate number of volunteers to maintain discipline/physical distancing and other norms related to COVID-19.

5. Each puja committee should have a temperature screening team.

6. Each puja committee will have to mandatorily sanitise the entire area after every 6(six) hours.

7. Strict Compliance of social distancing wearing mask, etc are to be maintained.

8. Each puja committee will have to mandatonly sanitise the entire area after every 6(six) hours.

9. Strict Compliance of social distancing wearing mask. etc are to be maintained.

8. Adequate Numbers of sanitizers is to be kept at the entrance of every Puja Pandal.

9. All the Committee members and concerned workers including the priest will have to Invariably undergo RAT testing.

10. The Puja Committees will arrange for proper sanitization & thermal screening of the devotees before entering the Puja Pandals.

11. Puja Committees will ensure safe electrical wiring to prevent any untoward incident. They should take fire safety measures.

Bisarjan/Immersion Dashami-

1. No immersion/bhaasan rally/Procession will be allowed.

2. Time limit for each idol immersion will be notified and each puja committee & families undertaking idol puja will have to apply at the Office of District Disaster Management Authority, Cachar and time slot for each immersion will be provided from there itself. Puja Committees & families undertaking idol puja will have to ma ndatorily do the immersion at given time slot.

3. Public gathering in the ghat will not be allowed.

4. Not more than two (2) Committee will be allowed in to the ghat at a given point of time.

5. To avoid crowd an extended visarjan process will be adopted, which will continue 1 or 2 day after the day of Dashami also. Puja committees will get their allotted day of visarjan based on the application made by them.


1. Persons with co-morbidities, persona above 65 years of age and children are requested to not venture out during Durga Puja.

2. All puja samithis are requested to take care of the Idol makers and contribute towards their livelihood and well-being through the donations collected.

3. Accumulation of crowd at any place will not be allowed.

4. Wearing of mask and maintaining physical distance will he mandatory for all (devotees/puja committee members/all others). 5. No Mela /Cultural Events competitions in connection with the celebration of puja will be allowed.

6. The Puja Committee will not allow any vendor, temporary tea stalls /chat house etc in the vicinity of the Puja Pandal.

7. Miking will not be allowed. Mega Speakers/mobile speakers will not be allowed Only dhaakis for puja will be permitted.

8 All Pula committees/mandirs are requested to use Social Media stream rituals of local _ Tv puja to devotees at the comfort of their homes. Here u. la Channels committees/mandirs.

9. Movement also engage themselves in live streaming puja from P am the Platform to live leading and chi ledrent onr. two wheelers will be restricted with pillion riding allowed for women

10. Immersion ghats will be segregated for idol Immersion all throughout the district

11. All loose materials/items that may pollute the water or stagnate water flow should be removed and collected before immersion of puja.

12. Local Police and Volunteers will have to take the following steps-

a) Keeping close watch on suspicious objects and persons especially during the celebration of the festival.

b) Frisking of suspicious persons as and when felt necessary.

c) Vigil is required to be taken over circulation of communally provocative material on social media & cyber space to block such objectionable contents.

d) Concrete steps are also to be taken to keep a tab on the Rumour mongers so as to maintain social communal harmony.

e) PSE should strictly adhere to these Instructions and take all preventive and precautionary measures from their end to ensure that no untoward incident takes place within the district during the celebration of festival. This Standard operating procedure is prepared with an intention to safeguard the life of each individual residing in Cachar District from COVID-19 pandemic to contain the further spread of virus.

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