Mumbai

Coronavirus | Places of worship in Mumbai put up squeaky clean look

Staying safe: A priest wears a mask while blessing devotees at Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi on Friday.

Staying safe: A priest wears a mask while blessing devotees at Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Visitors at dargahs being briefed eight times a day on hygiene; sanitisers placed in temples for devotees

As the Epidemic Diseases Act was brought into effect in the State from midnight on Friday, religious institutions across the city stepped up precautionary measures.

The city is home to several places of worship such as the tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, known as Haji Ali dargah; Makhdoom Ali Mahimi dargah, popularly called Mahim dargah; Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi, Mahalakshmi temple; and hundreds of churches.

Suhail Khandwani, a trustee of Haji Ali and Mahim dargahs, said, “Mahim dargah has its own medical department along with in-house doctors and out-patient departments. We conduct counselling sessions and spread awareness through social media. There has been no drop in the footfall at both dargahs. The doctors at Mahim dargah visit Haji Ali dargah to provide their services.”

Mr. Khandwani said earlier officials of the maintenance departments at both dargahs briefed visitors twice a day on hygiene, now they do it eight times. “We have put up posters on counselling sessions so that people can reach out to us,” Mr. Khandwani said.

Adesh Bandekar, chairman of Siddhivinayak Temple Trust, said sanitisers have been placed in the temple for devotees. He said, “We make sure that the railings are cleaned every 15 to 20 minutes and the staff wear masks. There has been a slight reduction in footfall as people are taking precautions and avoiding public gatherings. The primary concern is to not induce a sense of panic in the people, and to maintain high levels of cleanliness.”

Father Nigel Barrett, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bombay, said there are no restrictions on visiting churches. He said, “We are taking whatever precautions are advised, such as making sanitisers available. The use of biometrics in the offices has been stopped. The overall footfall of the faithful hasn’t dropped, although I cannot comment on any specific church. It is important to not create a sense of panic as that makes things much worse.”

A clerk at Mumbadevi temple said the staff members have been instructed to wear masks. Sharadchandra Padhye, general manager of Mahalakshmi Temple Trust, said that the footfall has dropped slightly. He said, “Posters have been put up informing people about precautionary measures. Only five to six men and women are allowed to enter the inner sanctum at a time to prevent physical contact with each another. The staff is advised to use sanitisers and masks, though use of masks is not compulsory as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has himself said.”

Mr. Padhye said the temple is now cleaned once in 30 minutes and the inner sanctum is cleaned thoroughly using detergent.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 5:22:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/places-of-worship-in-city-put-up-squeaky-clean-look/article31064846.ece

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