The second wave may be behind us and Bengaluru may have unlocked, but the coronavirus is still here. This means the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the city’s schedule for the second year in a row, as fears of an impending third wave have led the government of Karnataka to ban all public gatherings.
The Lalbagh Flower Show, scheduled for Independence Day, has been canceled. This is the third time in a row that the event has to be canceled – the first time in its history in over a century. “The show usually draws more than six lakh of steps, which is certainly not advisable in the current scenario. So we canceled the event. The show was canceled once during the plague and twice during WWII. world, but never three times in a row, ”said Mr. Jagadeesh, Co-Director, Parks and Gardens, Department of Horticulture.
Independence Day celebrations should also be low key. “All events will take place strictly with appropriate COVID-19 behavior. We are awaiting directives from Union and State governments for the Day 1 celebrations, ”said Police Commissioner Kamal Pant.
The pandemic has cast a shadow over the annual feast of St. Mary, which is held in August-September, and the Ganesha festival, which falls on September 10 this year.
JA Kanthraj, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bangalore, said: “In 2020 we only held Mass, which was broadcast online, with no car festival. This year we had planned to return to normal festivities, but with fears of a third wave and government directives banning public gatherings, we are keeping our fingers crossed. If the current guidelines continue, the festival will run like last year – massive online distribution and no auto festival. “
Although the city’s civic body initially banned the public installation of Ganesha idols in 2020, pressure within the Karnataka government pushed them to relax standards, allowing one public installation per neighborhood. However, the response had been lukewarm.
Senior city officials have said it would not be wise to allow large pandals in Bengaluru. The civic body can follow last year’s formula of only allowing one pandal per neighborhood, with no entertainment programs that are usually part of the festivities.
The twice postponed Bengaluru International Film Festival is now postponed indefinitely. “We announced that the festival was to be held in April 2021, but were affected by the second wave. With reports of a third wave around the corner, we have postponed the festival indefinitely, ”said Sunil Puranik, president of Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy, organizers of the event.
The pandemic has already spoiled two editions of Karaga and Poo Pallakki Utsava, and uploaded key calendar events, like Ramanavami Sangeeta Utsava and Bangalore Literature Festival.
“We are seeing an increase in cases in Kerala and Maharashtra, which share a border with Karnataka. Fears of an impending third wave are real. The Indian Medical Association has also advised governments to prevent “super-spray events”. In this scenario, it is unlikely that a public gathering will be allowed until the end of 2021, ”said a senior civic official.