Ahead of the last Durga Puja before the state assembly elections next year, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday announced a grant of Rs 50,000 to each of the puja committees.
According to the state administration, a total of 37,000 puja committees will be benefited as the government is set to shell out nearly Rs 200 crore with this announcement.
CM Banerjee also said that while fire licence to the committees will be issued without any fee, Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation and West Bengal Electric Supply Corporation Limited will give 50 per cent discount on the power bill. She also said that the permission for the pujas will be granted by the municipalities and gram panchayats without having to pay any fee.
The state government will also provide a one-time grant of Rs 2,000 to almost 79,000 hawkers ahead of the Durga Puja. The Chief Minister also announced to increase the salary of the Asha workers and civic volunteers by Rs 1,000 per month from October 1.
Earlier in the day, CM Banerjee held a meeting with the state police, administration and puja committees to announce the guidelines for the Durga Puja during the Covid pandemic.
She said that those who wish to visit the puja pandals will have to follow the Covid protocols of physical distancing, use of mask, personal hygiene, specified by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the state government.
Banerjee said that the committees should ensure that hand sanitisers are placed at entry points of the pandals and that everyone wears a mask. Notably, in order to maintain proper ventilation, Banerjee said that the pandals should be open from all four sides.
“Durga Puja Carnival will not be organised this year. Eid Namaz was not organised on Red Road. We celebrated 15th August in a very small way too,” Banerjee said, adding that cultural programmes inside the pandals will also not be allowed this year.
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