Bhubaneswar: The State Government has decided not to hold Khandagiri mela in Bhubaneswar this year as it is of view that maintenance of social distancing as per COVID-19 safety protocol will not be possible due to expected large congregation which will endanger public safety.
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), in an order, said that the Magha Saptami Mela or popularly known as Khandagiri Mela will not be held for this year.
The usual rituals that is being observed in relation to Magha Saptami may be done with strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, the BMC ordered.
After consultation with all the stakeholders to conduct Khandagiri Mela considering the #COVID19, it has been decided that the mela will not be held this year in view of Public Safety. Only the usual rituals for Magha Saptami will be held with adherence to #COVID19 protocol. pic.twitter.com/GbeeXzSxNJ
— BMC (@bmcbbsr) February 9, 2021
Traditionally the Magha Saptami Mela is organized at Khandagiri every year with much fanfare, Orchestra, Opera Shows etc and one writ petition No WP( c) was filed at Hon’ble High court to consider fixing of 12 days from Magha Saptami for celebration each year, to which Hon’ble High Court has disposed of the petition with a direction to authority to take a decision on the representation within three months from the date of production of an authenticated copy of the order by the petitioner.
Govt has stipulated organization of such fairs subject to conditions of adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols. In obedience to aforementioned Court Order, a coordination committee meeting was held on 02.02,2021 to explore the possibility of holding Magha Saptami Mela (Khandagiri Mela) in view of the existence of COVID-19 pandemic which has not subsided completely and a decision was taken to invite proposals from the Jatra Committees for holding the mela with strict adherence of COVID-19 protocol.
And Whereas. some Jatra Committees have submitted proposals and 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.
Also there was a representation from an organization not to allow holding the Mela in view of the Pandemic. In the field, it is observed that due to the ongoing expansion work of NH-5 the road being used is extremely narrow and there will be serious traffic, Law & Order issue due to congregation of a large number of people and further there is no space available in the road to accommodate temporary erection of stalls, the BMC stated.