With the lurking fear of a possible third Covid wave, puja clubs in Kolkata are perplexed about celebrating the much-awaited Durga Puja in October. Last year, the festival was organised with restrictions according to the court’s order in view of the outbreak.
Minister Partha Chatterjee, who is associated with the Naktala Udayan Sangha club of Kolkata, said he would not want a grand celebration this year. “In this Covid situation, clubs should pay 50% of the money raised for Durga Puja budget this year for Covid-related matters. I am not in favour of participating in Puja this year.” He also suggested to the puja committee to cut the budget and spend the money to buy vaccines for the poor people. He asked the committees to make puja smaller and spend extra money on poor people instead on the celebrations.
Other Puja committees of the city may also back him in the matter, according to the people in the knowhow.
The preparation for this year’s Naktala Udayan Sangha theme started a few months ago. There is no shortage of expensive pavilions, fancy pujas with celebrities, advertisements and sponsors but in the current situation, Chatterjee is against all this.
Last year too, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, several big puja committees made cuts in organising puja.
Several members of the state cabinet and Trinamool Congress leaders are associated with the city’s big budget puja. It remains to be seen whether the Suruchi Sangha, known as Arup Biswas’s puja, Firhad Hakim’s Chetla Agrani, Subrata Mukherjee’s Ekdalia Evergreen will heed Chatterjee’s request.