Durga Puja 2020: Giant Screens, Online Darshan Among Kolkata's Puja Plans

Durga Puja in Kolkata will be low-key and very different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many puja committees have already made plans to tweak arrangements for 'anjali' and 'sandhi puja' adhering to court orders.

Durga Puja 2020: Giant Screens, Online Darshan Among Kolkata's Puja Plans

Durga Puja 2020 Image: Big Kolkata Puja organizers plan to have giant screens

Kolkata:

Durga Puja organizers - particularly the big ones - are planning to install giant screens near the puja pandals for people to see the deity of Goddess Durga. The College Square Durga Puja committee said they are planning to have giant screens as the High Court's modified order on Wednesday left no chance for revellers to watch the deity of Durga at their marquee even from 10-metre distance. Others however have already made arrangements accordingly and welcomed the decision to allow 60 members from the organising committee inside the pandal and said they will tweak the arrangements for pushpanjali and sandhi puja adhering to the directives of the court.

"We have locked the entire College Square ground as directed by Kolkata Police and switched off all illumination on water since Choturthi. Only 60 members of puja committee will be allowed inside, 45 at a time. We are sad but there is no other way out," Bikash Majumder an office-bearer of College Square Durga Puja committee told news agency PTI.

"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 of the puja days," Mr Majumdar said.

Debashis Kumar, member of Board of Administrators, Kolkata Municipal Corporation and office-bearer of the 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 main entrance, we will install giant screens near our pandal along Rashbehari Avenue."

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About the court allowing 60 puja committee members, 45 at a time, inside the pandal, Mr Kumar said, "Except the dhaki, priest and few people assisting him, there won't be anyone else in the pandal. In a locality where hundreds are involved in Durga Puja, choosing 60 people is not possible and will be discriminatory."

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Swarup Biswas, an office-bearer of Suruchi Sangha Puja said, "We have to go by the order of the Hon'ble High Court. We have planned a way out keeping in mind the sentiments of the revellers and COVID-19 safety protocols." He added that there was no plan to put up giant screens for digital streaming of the puja and they have put up a barricade 10-metre from the main pandal.

Partha Ghosh, founder member of Forum For Durgotsab, a platform of around 400 community Durga Pujas said, "The High Court order has enabled a larger number of members of the organising committee including locals, to enter the pandal. We appreciate that." When asked how anjali, sandhi puja and sindoor khela, which are integral part of the rituals, will be allowed Mr Ghosh said, "We will arrange the rituals in small batches, following physical distancing norms."

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Durga Puja 2020 Image: A puja pandal in Kolkata being sanitized

General Secretary of the Forum Saswata Basu said, "We are disappointed. The pujas in narrow lanes will have no visitor as the court-specified distance from pandals will not be feasible for them to implement. We had also stocked up a large quantity of sanitizers and masks, which will now be of little use." Mr 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. Court restrictions for the Durga Pujas are in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.