The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) appealed to the residents of Vizag not to conduct bonfires on public tar roads during the Bhogi Festival. The GVMC Commissioner, Dr. G. Lakshmisha IAS, said that the bonfires on roads might melt the tar and create craters, and cause trouble to the motorists. He urged the public to hand over the old items to the GVMC authorities instead of throwing them in the bonfires. The GVMC also requests the public to follow the guidelines for Bhogi and cooperate with them in maintaining cleanliness and sanitation. Additionally, they said that the Bhogi Festival can be celebrated in their designated communities without damaging the public roads. Authorities added that eco-friendly bonfires with dung cakes can be lit on dirt roads rather than tar roads.
People usually lit bonfires on the roads with old furniture, used mats, and broomsticks. This is an age old practice that is carried out in villages and small towns. According to tradition, in villages, the bonfires are usually lit near the farm fields, as many farmers throw agricultural waste (such as straw and crop residues) in them. But this practice is not suitable in cities, as people light the bonfires on public roads, causing damage, and creating inconvenience to the traffic. Additionally, these might damage the tyres of plying vehicles. Old wooden articles may have iron nails that will remain in the ashes even after the flames burn down. These nails might puncture the automobile tyres.
During the Bhogi Festival large numbers of people may gather in the residential areas and colonies to celebrate. This might generate a spread of any potential COVID19 virus. It is better if the people of Vizag celebrate this auspicious occasion in a much smaller scale within their respective homes, keeping all fire related safety norms in mind. The citizens of Vizag must follow all the GVMC guidelines for Bhogi festival.
In case of building societies, or any such groupings, people must also adhere to all the COVID19 safety norms like social distancing, wearing mask and maintaining proper hygiene.