The center is warning people to gather in large numbers this festive season as the threat of covid still prevails, but in the surveyed state of Uttar Pradesh, the state government has decided to hold Diwali Milas for a week in all cities. These fairs, according to a state government statement accessed by News18, besides watching the sale of festive goods, will also have activities such as magic shows, dramas, puppet dances, food stalls, parades and LED screens depicting the achievements of Yogi Adityanath’s government in the past four and a half years. UP’s Minister of Urban Development, Ashutosh Tandon, held a review meeting on Tuesday on the organization of exhibitions and ordered them to be made “attractive through both recreational and cultural programming” as well as laser shows.
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Don’t make the virus happy
Diwali Milas Festival will start on 28th October and will run till 4th November. In an interview with News18, India’s Covid task force chief VK Paul said people need to be very responsible during festival season. “Crowds are bad, big gatherings are bad, crowds in markets are bad… the virus likes these things. Please don’t make the virus happy by creating these situations, so don’t lower your guard. Let’s do this for the next 100 days and if we keep suppressing the virus and we don’t see Rising, we could see a new dawn,” Paul told News18.
The UP government said in a statement that Minister Ashutosh Tandon had directed “all arrangements to be made at the Diwali Mela sites in relation to the Covid Safety Protocol”. It has been instructed that all people who come to the fairs wear masks, that adequate hand sanitizers are placed in the premises and that the floor must also be disinfected regularly. However, it is unclear how social distancing measures will be applied at fairs that people can gather in the week leading up to Diwali.
Meanwhile, Tandon directive specifies that attractive rides and swings for children are arranged at these fairs, food stalls, arrangements for people to take “selfies with great leaders” (clippings) as well as a dedicated help desk for beneficiaries of the PM SVANidhi scheme to enable street vendors and banks to digital payments. The order from the state government says Diwali Melas will help increase the income of street vendors by giving them a platform for sale. Open lands are identified in all cities. Cultural programs will be held at the fairs in the first three days.
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A committee is formed in each city comprising the district police chief and chief medical officer among others to organize Diwali Melas. The committees will begin holding their meetings from October 16, deciding places by October 17, and completing all other arrangements by October 22.