Bhubaneswar: There will be no ‘Magha Saptami Mela’ at Khandagiri in Bhubaneswar this year as social distancing norm could not be followed due to possible large congregation. Citing that there has been an apprehension that maintenance of social distancing as per the COVID-19 safety protocol will not be possible which will endanger the public safety, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) in an order disallowed conduct of the ‘Magha Saptami Mela’, popularly known as ‘Khandagiri Mela’ this year.
The civic body further stated due to the ongoing expansion work of NH-5 the Khandagiri road being used is extremely narrow and there will be serious traffic. Law and order issue due to congregation of large number of people will emerge and there is no space available in the road to accommodate temporary erection of stalls.
However, the usual rituals related to Magha Saptami will be allowed with strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, the order stated.
Worth mentioning, a writ petition was filed at the Orissa High Court seeking a directive to allow the ‘Khandagiri Mela’. But the court dismissed the petition and directed the local authority to take a decision in this regard.
Some Jatra Committees also proposed the civic body to submit undertaking to abide by the COVID-19 safety protocols and suggested that they will erect Opera Pandals stalls from Jagamara Melana Padia towards Khandagiri Hill and from Khandagiri Hill Sauchalaya to Sibananda School.