The Gujarat government has advised people to celebrate Makar Sankranti with close family members only in the wake of a surge in Covid- 19 cases across the state. The festival will be observed on January 14 this year.

The state government has prohibited assembly in public places, roads or open spaces to celebrate the festival. Members of residential societies have been permitted to celebrate the festival inside the complexes by adhering to strict Covid-19 guidelines. The police have been instructed to keep a vigil on housing societies in Ahmedabad with the help of drones.

At present, 10 Gujarat cities including Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara are under night curfew from 10pm to 6am. The maximum number of attendees allowed at social, religious, cultural or political events including weddings has been capped at 150.

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A notification issued by Nikhil Bhatt, additional secretary (law and order), home department, on January 10 stated, Assembling at public places, open spaces and roads to celebrate the festival including flying of kites has been prohibited. In context of the current Covid situation, it has been advised to celebrate the festival with only close family members. People cannot assemble at houses, rooftops and society open spaces without wearing masks and without following social distancing. Apart from residents of the society or flats, no one can enter the society premises for the festival.

In case of any violation, action will be taken against the management of the societies. Playing of loud speakers or DJ system at residential societies will be prohibited as it leads to assembling of people and violation of social distancing. People above the age of 65, pregnant women and kids below 10 years are advised to stay indoors.

As per the guidelines of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal, there is a ban on sale, purchase, storage and use of Chinese/nylon-coated/ glass-coated strings and sky lanterns.

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