Calcutta HC declares Durga Puja pandals in WB No-entry zones for visitors

Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered that Durga Puja celebrations will be regulated in West Bengal in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The direction will apply to about 37,000 Durga Puja pandals in the state. Of these,3,000 are in Kolkata. A Division Bench delivered the order on the plea filed by advocate Sabyasachi Chatterjee. HC said that the Ganesh Puja and Muharram celebrations were not allowed in Maharashtra in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising number of cases. Earlier, the Mamata Banerjee government had announced a slew of COVID-19-related guidelines for pandal organisations as well as for the people visiting the pandal. Durga Puja, the major festivity for the people of Bengal will be subdued in the state this year and restrictions will be in place to check that the festival does not result in a spike in Covid-19 cases. In Delhi, community Durga Pujas were earlier suspended to contain the spread of COVID -19. In West Bengal, all Durga Puja pandals have been declared No-entry zones. Only organisers can enter the pandals, the Calcutta HC said in its order. Names of people allowed to enter the pandals to be displayed outside it. The common citizen should be discouraged to gather in the pandals. The measures that have been announced by the state are well planned but without a proper blueprint to be implemented on the ground,” the court said. Bengal media report crowding around the markets in big city Kolkata or small towns has remained ‘unchecked’. The same cannot be repeated over the five days during the Durga puja.” If the pandals are made No-entry zones and all sides are covered as part of the No-entry zones, the public at large will know that there will be no access to the pandal and vicinity, the affinity to hit the streets will be less,” the HC  further said. “The virus refuses to go away. Though the healthcare facilities had been augmented with limited resources available.  The police cannot be blamed with limited resources at their disposal for the spread of virus.

Meanwhile, PTI reports that in Delhi, a meeting was held amongst 12 Durga puja committees of mostly South Delhi, Mr Saurabh Bharadwaj MLA, the area SDM, officials from police and other civic agencies. It was unanimously decided that only ghat (kalash) puja will be performed while the puja in the main temple of CR Park Kali Mandir will be held with the entry of around 50 people.

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