Some big puja organisers in the city, including College Square Durga Puja committee, said they are planning to install giant screens as the High Court's modified order Wednesday left no chance for revellers to watch the deity at their marquee even from 10 metre distance.
The organisers have put up a barricade 10 metre from the main pandal from where the visitors can see the deity.
Some big puja organisers in the city, including College Square Durga Puja committee, said they are planning to install giant screens as the High Court’s modified order Wednesday left no chance for revellers to watch the deity at their marquee even from 10 metre distance. However, others have already made arrangements accordingly and welcomed the decision to allow 60 members from the organising committee inside the pandal and said they will tinker arrangements for pushpanjali and sandhi puja adhering to the directives of the court.
Bikash Majumder an office-bearer of College Square committee told PTI “we have locked the entire College Square ground as directed by Kolkata Police and switched off all illumination on water since Choturthi, Tuesday. Only 60 members of puja committee will be allowed inside, 45 at a time. We are sad but there is no other way out.” “We had already made arrangements for virtual darshan as an alternative for those staying at home, we are now planning to install giant screen along College Street for the revellers who don’t have access to smartphones or want to feel the ambience a bit going outside on puja days,” he said.
Debashis Kumar, member of Board of Administrators Kolkata Municipal Corporation, and office-bearer of popular Tridhara Sammilani said “we will not be able to allow people to walk by our roadside pandal and see the deity. As the no entry board will be put up before the marquee main entrance. We will install giant screens near our pandal along Rashbehari Avenue.”
About the court allowing 60 puja committee members, 45 at a time, inside the pandal area, Kumar said “except the dhaki and priest and few assisting him, there won’t be anyone else in the pandal premises. In a locality where hundreds are involved in Durga puja choosing 60 is not possible and will be discriminatory.” Swarup Biswas, an office-bearer of Suruchi Sangha puja, known to be patronised by his brother and senior minister Arup Biswas, said “we have to go by the order of Hon’ble High Court. We have devised a way out keeping in mind the sentiments of the revellers, COVID-19 safety protocols, the guidelines.”
He said there was no plan to put up giant screens for digital streaming of the puja for those unable to see the idol from close. The organisers have put up a barricade 10 metre from the main pandal from where the visitors can see the deity. Partha Ghosh, founder member of Forum For Durgotsab, a platform of around 400 community Durga pujas, said “the HC order has enabled a larger number of members of the organising committee including locals, to enter the pandal. We appreciate that.”
Asked how offering anjali and sandhi puja and sindoor khela will be allowed, which are integral part of rituals for the puja, Ghosh, an official of Shib Mandir Puja committee, said “this can be done from a distance of 10 metre for big pujas and 5 metre for small pujas. We will arrange that in small batches following physical distancing norms.” Ghosh said viewers can very well see the deity and pandal decorations from the road at a 10 metre distance.
General Secretary of Forum for Durgotsab Saswata Basu said “we are disappointed. The puja committees in small lanes will have no visitor as the 10 metre or 5 metre distance from pandals for visitors will not be feasible for them to implement. “We had also stocked up a large number of sanitisers and masks which will now be of little use.” Basu is associated with Hatibagan Sarbojonin, another popular puja.
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday partly modified its order on community Durga Pujas, allowing drummers to perform within the no-entry zones of the marquees and raising the number of people who can be present there for big pujas from 25 to 60. Hearing an appeal submitted by Forum for Durgotsab, a division bench of the high court comprising Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee, retained its earlier order declaring all Durga Puja marquees no-entry zones and erecting barricades in front of the pandals to prevent visitors from entering inside in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Counsel for the forum submitted before the court that as Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the Bengalis and lot of emotions are attached to it, the number of people who can enter the marquees be increased for offering “anjali” and also during “sandhi puja”. The bench ordered that the number of people who can stay inside the marquees be increased from 25 to 60 for big Pujas but retained it at 15 for the small ones. The court had on Monday declared all pandals across West Bengal no-entry zones to prevent the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state. The division bench had also ordered that no visitors would be allowed to enter the marquees.