A day after the Calcutta High Court ordered that Durga Puja marquees should be out of bounds for visitors “in public interest” amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Forum for Durgotsab, an umbrella organisation of more than 400 community Durga Pujas, on Tuesday filed a review petition in the court. Five community puja committees in Kolkata, including Suruchi Sangha, Hindustan Club and Samaj Sebi Sangha, also filed separate review petitions.
The forum’s review plea was filed before the Division Bench of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee that delivered Monday’s order. The petition is likely to be heard on Wednesday.
“We have prayed before the court to modify its earlier order for practical purposes. We have mentioned several grounds in our petition. Most of the puja committees have followed the Centre and state government’s guidelines in organising the Durga Puja. Several puja committees have the same entry and exit gates. If people are stopped at entry points then it can lead to more chaos and crowding. This will complicate the matter and create more confusion,” advocate Proloy Kumar Roy said after filing the petition on behalf of the forum.
“We have appealed before the honourable High Court to review its order on Durga Puja. We believe it will take into consideration the real problems that most of the puja organisers will face in adhering to its earlier order. We don’t have the time to redesign our pandals. It is not possible for only 25 persons to look after a Durga Puja that continues for over five days. Fifty to 100 persons from each puja committee must be allowed to conduct the puja,” said Saswata Basu, general secretary of the forum. “From the beginning, we took measures to ensure the safety of visitors. No one would have been allowed inside the pandal without a face mask and without using sanitisers,” he added.
A large number of committees, whose pandals are in narrow bylanes and congested areas, are looking forward to the review plea hearing.
Meanwhile, several organisers started preparing for a change in layout of their pandal.
“We had put up barricades before our pandal so that people are not allowed inside it. Now after the court’s order, we have to shift the barricade further. Visitors will be inconvenienced after the change,” said a member of Salt Lake’s FD Block puja.
Manoj Shaw of the Mudiali Durga Puja committee said his organisation had complied with the court order, but the idol was not visible because of the changes ordered by the judges. “People are coming to see the idol but they cannot view it following the changes. This is not the way to celebrate Durga Puja here,” he said.
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