Churches still in dark over reopening in Bhubaneswar

There is no specific instruction from BMC to open their doors for worshippers, claim religious institutions 
Representational Photo
Representational Photo

BHUBANESWAR: While most districts in the State have allowed reopening of religious places in a phase-wise manner from this week, such institutions including churches and mosques in the Capital city are still in the dark over their fate.In the absence of any specific instruction from the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), they are unable to open their doors for worshippers.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) in its order issued on December 18 had stated that those willing to reopen their premises from January 3 onwards would be required to give undertaking to the civic body. However, some of the institutions said they are yet to receive any communication in this regard.

“Though we don’t have any immediate plan to reopen churches, we are clueless about the dates from when religious institutions can be opened in the city,” said an official of Union Church in Lokseva Marg. He said there is also no clarity as to what SOPs religious institutions need to follow after their reopening and the crowd limit. 

BMC officials, however, said the order issued on December 18 clearly specifies that the local committees of all religious institutions within the city limits will be allowed to reopen after they give undertakings that they will ensure strict implementation of Covid guidelines which mandates mask for all, minimum six feet distance and proper hand sanitisation. 

Besides, the authorities of all religious institutions will require to submit the details of the space they have for congregation and number of devotees they will allow at one time to prevent crowding. The entry has to be done in a staggered manner to ensure social distancing, they said. 

Municipal Commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhary said those seeking permission and submitting undertakings are being issued permission immediately. The order will be communicated to all once again to avoid any kind of confusion, he added.

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