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Updated on: Saturday, October 09, 2021, 11:25 PM IST

West Bengal: Some Durga Puja committees focus on helping needy amid COVID-19 pandemic, others on opulent pandals

People visit a makeshift place of worship on the occasion of Durga Puja festival in Kolkata on October 9, 2021.  | (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP)

People visit a makeshift place of worship on the occasion of Durga Puja festival in Kolkata on October 9, 2021. | (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP)

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Kolkata: Amidst the ongoing pandemic and financial distress for many, the big puja organizers despite the hardships have spent lakhs of rupees on their pujas to woo the visitors.

Talking to Free Press Journal, Ashok Ojha, joint secretary, Md. Ali Park Durga Puja association said that this year their puja budget is approximately 12-15 lakhs and their theme is ‘Vaccination Wins Over Corona’.

“We have reduced the expenditure a lot so that we can utilize them to help the needy. The theme of our puja is a real prayer to the Goddess that she kills the coronavirus and the vaccination works so that no more deaths happen in the world,” said Ashok.

Subir Das, Bhowanipur 75 Pally has kept their theme as ‘Manobik’ (Humanity) and have brought Chhau dancers from Purulia and will give them a chance to sell their handicrafts and the club will also gift them new clothes.

Notably, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee while inaugurating the pandal had also played 'dhamsa', a local instrument, to energize the Chhau dancers.

“This year our puja cost is 25 lakhs and for CSR activity we have allotted 30 lakh. Not just monetary support we will keep the Chhau dancers in Kolkata on our cost and apart from them we have planned to give food and clothes to the needy across the state,” said Subir.

Vikrant Singh, Youth President of Young Boys Club, who had kept their theme as ‘Durga – The Destroyer of Corona’ said that their approximate budget this year is 30 lakhs and CSR budget is 40 lakh rupees.

“Money for CSR is always kept more to serve the people. It has been a custom for us as everyone should enjoy the festivities. Like last year this year too we have kept the CSR fund more to serve the needy,” claimed Vikrant.

Though West Bengal Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee did a little ‘dilly-dally’ when he was asked about the budget but close aide of Mukherjee said that the Ekdalia Evergreen had cut short budgets in 2020 and 2021 to distribute them amongst poor people.

It is pertinent to mention that this year on one side though the limelight is on Sreebhumi sporting club organised by Fire and Emergency minister Sujit Bose, West Bengal Chief Minister is not happy with the Fire and Emergency department for permitting their theme ‘Burj Khalifa’ which also has laser lights.

According to TMC sources, Mamata had expressed her displeasure as the airport is near the locality and flickering of laser lights will be detrimental for the flights.

According to a very close aide of Sujit Bose, their budget reached almost one crore rupees and the workers who had built the pandal were sent to Dubai to get the first hand feel of the building.

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Published on: Saturday, October 09, 2021, 11:25 PM IST
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