Karnataka govt awaits Covid panel’s advice to decide audience limit for Mysore Dasara festival

Minister ST Somashekar launched the official website for the state’s flagship festival on Friday

With less than a week left for the 10-day annual Dasara celebrations to begin in Mysuru, the Karnataka state government is awaiting advice from the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) constituted to decide on the permissible limit of audience for cultural events to be held within the palace premises and for the Jumbo Savari (elephant procession).

According to Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar, the government has sought the TAC’s advice on whether it can allow 500 persons to watch the daily cultural events. “The final decision will be taken based on the TAC’s advice,” he said.

Sudhakar expressed confidence in arranging seats at a distance of 3.5 metres from each other for the events. “It is possible for us to organise the events with this seating arrangement and by ensuring compliance with all SOPs (standard operating procedures) for social distancing,” he said.

As per statistics issued by the state Covid war room, Mysuru recorded 626 active Covid-19 cases on September 30, with 431 of them confirmed in the last seven days.

Meanwhile, Minister in charge of Mysuru, ST Somashekar, on Friday launched the official website for the state’s flagship festival. “All events including the inauguration, Jumbo Savari, cultural events, and the Vijayadashami procession will be live-streamed on this website. Arrangements have been made to use social media platforms to telecast the events on a real-time basis,” he said. The minister added that information on the festival, its history and details on tourist sites will be available on the official portal.

The state government has decided to invite veteran politician and former Congress chief minister S M Krishna to inaugurate the festivities on October 7. Last year, the government had chosen five coronavirus warriors to inaugurate the Dasara festival, while renowned novelist Santeshivara Lingannaiah Bhyrappa was chosen to do the honours in 2019.

While the festivities were not held in full grandeur last year due to the pandemic, this year too it will be held in a low-key manner in anticipation of a third wave of Covid, the state government has said.

“We have decided to release Rs 6 crore to celebrate Dasara festival at Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, and Sriragapatna,” Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had said last month, announcing the decision to conduct the state’s official festival in a “simple and traditional” manner.

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