Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government on Thursday gave the go ahead for the conduct of Rath Yatra in the city on July 12, but with certain restrictions due to COVID-19.
Curfew will be imposed on the Rath Yatra route and prasad distribution will banned, Gujarat Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja told reporters.
The minister informed that the permission for the Rath Yatra was given considering the decline in COVID cases and low positivity rate at present.
“During the last 24 hours, there were only 2 positive cases in Ahmedabad and the recovery rate was 98.5 per cent,” Jadeja was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.
“Looking at all these and understanding the sentiments of the public to carry on the ancient ritual, we have decided to permit this year’s Rath Yatra in a limited fashion,” he added.
At the same time, the minister urged people to stay indoors and watch the live broadcast of Rath Yatra on television,
Asserting that only a limited number of people will be allowed to attend the festival, Jadeja informed. “Union Home Minister Amit Shah will attend Mangala Aarti at the temple in the morning. Chief Minister Rupani will perform the Pahind ceremony in the presence of Deputy CM Nitin Patel.”
He further informed that only six vehicles will be allowed to participate in Rath Yatra. These are the three chariots, ‘Nishan’, ‘Danka’ and the Mahant/Trustee’s vehicle.
“Khalasi youths, who conventionally pull the three Raths, will be required to be vaccinated and RTPCR negative,” said Jadeja, adding that a total of 60 youths will be pulling the three chariots.
Elephants, tableau trucks, akhada, bhajan mandlis, etc will not be permitted to participate in the Rath Yatra procession this year.
“Local authorities will ensure a strict curfew along the entire shortened 19 kilometre route of the Yatra which will have to be finished in five hours,” added Jadeja.