Durga Puja may be over but residents of Kolkata have another celebration to look forward to next week. Idols of 72 award-winning pandals will be paraded through Red Road Tuesday, culminating in a grand immersion.
Preparations are on in full swing for the third run of the carnival, which is the brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Special light installations and a separate gallery for foreign delegates are included in the arrangements. Apart for the chief minister, many eminent personalities are expected to attend.
“This year, a total 72 puja organisers will take part in the Red Road carnival. Arrangements are at par with any international carnival. There will be tight security,” TMC councillor in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Debashish Kumar, who also organises the Tridhara Sammelani said. Tridhara Sammelani will be participating in the carnival.
“We have been participating since the beginning. In the first carnival we had won best performer of immersion…The arrangements are much better than last year. This is going to give us global recognition,” said Subir Das, secretary of Ballygunj, 75 Palli.
Kolkata Police has made arrangements to manage traffic during the carnival since it will take place on a working day.
The number of participating clubs has gone up from 55 last year, to 72. Arun Lal, secretary of the Mudiali Club Sarbojanin Durga Puja, said, “The Red Road puja carnival is a great initiative on the part of our state government. But we haven’t participated till date because we have a tradition of holding the immersion on Vijayadashami.”
“Policemen and volunteers work tirelessly during the festival days. They manage the crowds throughout the night. Our police force, fire department, disaster management teams work in unison 24×7 and they miss out on the fun. The carnival is a way for them to enjoy,” said a government official.
Around 3,000 big and small Durga pujas were organised across Kolkata and adjoining areas this year. Another 25,000 were organised across the rest of the state.