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No Navratri waltz for Gujarat as State curbs Garbas

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on October 05, 2021

Youngsters dressed in the traditional attire practise Garba ahead of Navratri in Ahmedabad   -  VIJAY SONEJI

Despite the low daily Covid case count, the Gujarat government is not taking chances, and has put strict restrictions on gatherings

In 2019, on the night of October 6, about 60,000 revellers gathered at one of Vadodara’s iconic Garba venues to perform the cheery dance ritual to usher in the Navratri festivities. Cut to 2021, there will be no such high octane event when the nine-night dance festival kicks off on October 7, as not more than 400 will be allowed to gather at any place.

Covid cases

Despite the low daily case count of about 20 in the State, the Gujarat government is not taking chances, and has put strict restrictions on gatherings. That’s because the test positivity rate (TPR) is marginally, but steadily rising by the week.

The average TPR for the week ending September 30 stood at 0.033 per cent compared to the 0.022 per cent in the first week of September. Notably, Gujarat recorded 27 new cases on October 2 with a TPR of 0.043 per cent, the highest since July 31. The State is testing over 60,000 samples daily. Active cases in the State have gone up marginally to 158 on September 30 from 150 on August 31.

Bharat Gadhavi, president of the Ahmedabad Hospitals & Nursing Homes Association, told BusinessLine that there is no need to panic, but a marginal uptrend in TPR calls for caution. “In (the) past fortnight, we have seen a total of two admissions in private hospitals. But considering the festivities, and congregations... people need to be cautious,” he said.

Last year during Navratri, Gujarat was reported around 1,000 cases daily, with a TPR of over 2 per cent. “The situation is much better today. But the trauma of the second wave is still there. Organisers of large Garbas have voluntarily cancelled the events like last year, so there is no temptation to go out,” said Niraj Patel, a regular at party-plot Garba.

Low key format

Patel and many others like him have gone back to the low-key street Garba format, which was long the norm before commercial Garba with hi-tech sound systems took over.

A marketing consultant and organiser of SOI Garba in Ahmedabad, Himanshu Shah, said that without a sizeable crowd, it is not financially viabile to conduct large commercial Garba events.

Published on October 04, 2021

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