At the hearing of two PILs, the Division Bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee said that the guidelines that were in place during Durga Puja to curb crowding will also be in effect during Kali Puja.
“The High Court upheld the petition about banning use and sale of firecrackers during Kali Puja. We wanted the court to extend its Durga Puja-related directives to upcoming Kali Puja, Jagaddhatri Puja, Chhath and Kartik Puja to prevent people from crowding in this pandemic,” said lawyer Savyasachi Chattopadhyay.
Praising the West Bengal government and police for effectively implementing the court’s directives during Durga Puja, the Bench asked the police to do the same in the upcoming festivals.
In the latest directive, the court said that 10-15 people will be allowed in small Kali Puja pandals ( up to 300 sq metres) and a maximum of 45 in the bigger ones.
The Puja organisers will have to put up barricades to stop people from entering the restricted zone around the pandal.
The court also directed that no procession with sound and light system will be allowed for idol immersion or Chhath. Police have been asked to ensure that people apply sanitiser and wear masks when stepping out and must follow social distancing rules.
Earlier, the state government had urged people to not burst firecrackers during Kali Puja and Diwali to check air pollution, which is hazardous for Covid-19 patients.
An association of firecracker makers has already demanded compensation of Rs 2 lakh for each licensed fireworks dealers, numbering over 53,000. The ‘Poschim Bango Atosbazi Unnayan Samity’ has said that livelihood of around four lakh people in the state are at stake.
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