The Shirdi Sai Baba temple and the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra are reopening from October 7, according to the latest directions issued by the Ahmednagar district administration on Tuesday in view of the declining number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the state. However, strict pandemic-related guidelines are to be followed, and officials will ensure that all the devotees wear masks and maintain distancing protocols while visiting the temple. As places of worship in the state are slated to reopen from October 7, a meeting of the district administration and the management of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust was organised to chalk out measures
How many devotees will be allowed?
According to the fresh guidelines issued by Ahmednagar district collector Rajendra B Bhosale, a maximum of 15,000 devotees are to be allowed in the Shirdi Sai Baba temple daily, while the number of pilgrims at the Shani Shingnapur temple will be capped at 20,000 a day.
The Shirdi Sai Baba temple is issuing 5,000 paid passes, 5,000 online passes, and 5,000 offline passes for the devotees. No more than 1,150 devotees will be allowed to be inside the temple premises at any hour.
Meanwhile, the temple aarti can be attended by a maximum of 90 devotees, according to the fresh guidelines.
What are the Covid-19 guidelines for devotees?
In view of the declining coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the state, the district administration has reopened the temple gates for the devotees; however, there still remain prevailing protocols to prevent a renewed surge in cases.
Devotees going to both the Shirdi Sai Baba and the Shani Shingnapur temples must mandatorily wear masks and maintain social distancing wherever applicable. For this purpose, the administration has fixed entry from entrance number 2, while exit will be facilitated through exit gates numbers 4 and 5 at the Shirdi Sai Baba temple.
The Dhyan Mandir and Parayan Kaksh will remain closed, the administration informed, adding that pregnant women, children below 10 years of age, and people above 65 years will not be allowed to enter the temple.
What is the Covid-19 situation in Maharashtra like?
Maharashtra reported 2,401 new Covid-19 cases and 39 fresh deaths on Tuesday – an uptick from multi-month lows registered a day ago – taking the infection tally to 65,64,915 and the toll to 1,39,272, a health department official said. Maharashtra witnessed a rise in Covid-19 cases and fatalities as compared to Monday, when it reported 2,026 infections, the lowest since February 2, and 26 fatalities.
Mumbai districts reported the highest 447 new infections in the state. Among the eight regions of Maharashtra, the Mumbai region reported the highest 845 new Covid-19 cases, followed by 791 in the Pune region. The Nashik region reported 463 new cases, Kolhapur 178, Latur 77, Aurangabad 30, Nagpur 12 and the Akola region five.
According to the official, among the 39 fresh fatalities, the highest 13 were reported from the Pune region, followed by 10 from the Nashik region. Seven fatalities each were registered in Kolhapur and Mumbai regions, while the Latur region saw the death of two coronavirus patients. Significantly, Aurangabad, Akola, and Nagpur regions did not report any fresh fatalities.
(With inputs from agencies)
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