PARADIP: The festive fervour associated with Raja is once again missing in large parts of the district. Festivities were seen in rural pockets but remained largely absent in urban areas as the three-day festival kicked off. The port city of Paradip, which usually celebrates ‘Raja’ with much merry-making, wore a forlorn look as Covid restrictions cast a shadow on the first day of the festival.
Jagannath Lalit Kala Sansad, the cultural wing of the Paradip Port Trust (PPT) observes the festival every year with gusto for denizens of the township. However, with restrictions on congregations, the festive mood was dampened as most women and girls stayed indoors. Locals said they did not feel like celebrating amid restrictions like wearing masks and social distancing.
On the other hand, people in rural pockets threw social distancing caution to the wind and went ahead with the celebrations. “We observed Raja in the village as Covid restrictions have no impact in rural areas,” said Sanjukta Swain of Naugaon.
Meanwhile, Collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra appealed to people to stay indoors and exercise caution without giving in to festive pleasures. “As per latest tests, case count has dipped by 7.76 per cent in the district. We must follow the safety protocol to ensure the situation returns to normalcy soon,” he said.