Mysuru: With no let-up in the Covid cases in the state, Karnataka farmers on Monday urged the state government to avoid grand Dasara celebrations between October 17 and 27 and use the funds to compensate them for the loss incurred due to the pandemic spread and extended lockdown.
"As there is no sign of coronavirus abating even 5 months after it became a pandemic, the state government should not celebrate the 10-day Dasara festival in a grand way this year as people, especially farmers are in distress," said state farmers' association president B. Nagandra in a statement here.
Though the state government is yet to decide on the 10-day world famous Dasara festival celebrations in this city of palaces as it battles the virus, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa recently hinted that the annual event would be low-key in view of the pandemic.
"As people are struggling to cope with the Covid crisis, which has severely affected everyone's livelihood, the festival should be simple, traditional and confined to the palace for avoiding large gathering in public places during its 10-day fete," Nagendra asserted.
Mysuru is about 150 km southwest of Bengaluru in the southern state.
"The Dasara festival will be simple but in a traditional way under Covid-induced guidelines to maintain social distancing and prevent large gathering in public places for containing the virus spread," Yediyurappa said on August 21 after praying and worshipping the Cauvery river at the nearby brimming KRS dam.
On the 10th day of the grand fest (Vijayadashmi), a victory parade on caparisoned elephants is held from the Amba Vilas palace in the city centre to Bannimantap ground, to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
The celebrations also mark the return of Hindu god Ram to Ayodhya after defeating demon king Ravana in Sri Lanka and the death of demon Mysasura at the hands of Goddess Durga astride a tiger.
"As people are facing hardships due the virus disrupting life and livelihood, this is not the time for celebrations, as hundreds are testing positive daily and as many are under treatment for the infection across the state," state sugarcane growers' association president K. Shantakumar told IANS on phone.
People in the state had faced similar difficulties in the past due to drought, floods and other disasters and Dasara had been celebrated in a simple manner. The state government and the erstwhile ruling Wodeyar family, which jointly celebrate the fest, can celebrate it grandly next year, said a farmer.
"The Dasara fest was conducted in a simple way without fanfare many times in the past to maintain the tradition and continuity," Hunsur farmer Lingappa said.
Though an estimated 10 lakh people visit Mysuru during the grand fest, the restrictions in Covid times are likely to keep footfalls low this time.
"Dasara is the peak tourist season for Mysuru, with maximum number of visitors on the 9th and 10th day of the festival for ayudha (armoury) puja and Vijayadashami. A subdued festival will affect the tourist and hospitality sectors, as Covid-induced curbs will keep people away," said Mysuru Hotel Owners Association president C. Narayana Gowda here.
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