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Durga Puja organisers move Calcutta HC for review


Nearly 400 Durga Puja organisers in Kolkata have approached the Calcutta High Court to review its order declaring all puja pandals a no-entry zone for visitors. The organisers approached the high court through their umbrella body Durgotsav Forum for a review, with just two days left for the main festival to begin.

The Calcutta High Court will take up the review request by Durgotsav Forum for hearing on Wednesday.

The Calcutta High Court had on Monday ordered that all Durga Puja pandals in West Bengal will have to be turned into no-entry zones for visitors. The court said all puja pandals should be treated as containment zones.

The Calcutta High Court had also come down heavily on the Mamata Banerjee government that allowed the festivities despite a warning by medicos that the decision could prove to be catastrophic amid the coronavirus chaos.

Last month, the Mamata Banerjee government had announced that it plans to put coronavirus under lockdown and allow the festivities. However, the decision seems to have clearly backfired and resulted in a lot of criticism for the Bengal government, especially when other states have cancelled their local festivals.

Only organisers allowed in Durga Puja pandals

The Calcutta High Court had clarified that only organisers will be allowed inside the pandals. It also limited the number of people who would be allowed—25 for big pandals and 15 for the smaller ones. The limit has been imposed considering the coronavirus pandemic.

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The division bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee had directed the police to strictly implement its orders and ensure that every puja organizer complies with the same.

All pandals will have to erect barricades at their entrance. The barricades should be erected at a distance of 5 metres for small pandals and 10 metres for the bigger ones.

Meanwhile, chief of Durgotsav Forum Saswat Bose had said: “This is a huge setback for us. For four months, we have been working at making things safe for visitors. We had made masks mandatory, sanitising gates were in place, we bought machines for thermal screening. Our exit gates were bigger than entry gates. But now… the rule about barricade 10 metres before the pandal, how will the crowds disperse? There will be more chaos.”

HC seeks report from Bengal police

Court further said that the measures have been taken since it will be difficult to police 5-6 lakh people who would be on the road for pandal hopping.

The DGP of West Bengal and Commissioner of Kolkata Police have been also ordered to submit a report to the court within four days of Laxmi Puja which is on October 30.


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