PARADIP: Amid the dark clouds of the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions imposed on celebrations by the State Government, the one week Vishwakarma Puja in the port town of Paradip will be a low-key affair.
Paradip, which houses several industries, celebrated the puja in a grand manner every year. However this year, the celebration will be muted with the State Government making it clear that the puja will have to be conducted indoors only for observance of rituals without participation of the public to contain the spread of Covid-19. Besides, the size of idols shall be less than four feet and there would be no use of public address system. Even the immersion procession has been prohibited.
Following the Government guidelines, the usual excitement ahead of the festivities is missing in Paradip which has a long history with Vishwakarma Puja. When the port was established in 1963, seven persons belonging to different communities first organised the puja with an aim to establish communal harmony among residents.
Trade union leader Sudhakar Mantry said every year, people from different parts of the State throng Paradip to enjoy the puja which is organised at 30 pandals in the town. However, people will miss out on the festivities due to the Covid-19 threat. The puja committees have put in place necessary arrangements to observe the festival in strict adherence to the Government guidelines.
Mantry further said small businesses that thrived during the seven-day festival including tent houses, flower vendors, sweet shops, outlets selling decorative items and transporters will be affected due to the subdued celebration.