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Mamata Banerjee Announces Guidelines To Celebrate Durga Pujo Amidst The Pandemic

Durga Pujo Guidelines, guidelines to Celebrate Durga Pujo

The festival of Durga Puja is round the corners but the uncertainties due to the pandemic might dampen the festivities. However, West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ensured the state will be celebrating Durga Pujo although in a restricted manner. On Thursday, September 24, 2020, Banerjee issued guidelines about the Pujo that focused on maintaining the social distancing in the puja pandals and providing financial help to the Durga Puja committees.

In the guidelines, she said that maintaining social distancing, wearing mask and use of hand sanitizers is mandatory at the puja pandals, reported ANI.  “Hand sanitizers should be placed at entry points of pandals,” she said. To maintain the COVID-19 protocol in the pandals, Banerjee has asked the committees to appoint volunteers. And it will be mandatory for the volunteers to ear face shields.

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She further said that the pandals installing the idols of Goddess Durga and celebrating the 10-day festival should be open from all the four sides. “I am requesting all to keep Durga puja pandal open and spacious. If sides are covered, then keep the roof open. If the roof is closed, then keep sides open. Also, maintain physical distancing,” reported Zee News

She also said that the ceremonies of Anjali, Sindoor Khela and idol immersion will be celebrated but in separate slots to avoid gathering. “Announce the mantras on the mic so that people can hear it from faraway places.  For Sindoor Khela, play it batch-wise,” she added.

However, Banerjee said that the Durga Puja Carnival and cultural programs will be prohibited inside every pandal. The puja will be telecasted virtually also for people who cannot be physically present at the pandals. Prizes for programmes will also be announced on the virtual platform.

Financial Support To The Durga Puja Committees

Besides, Banerjee has also announced an increase in providing the financial and other miscellaneous support to the Durga Puja Committees. She said, “Durga Puja committees to get Rs 50,000 each as a grant from the state government. 80,000 hawkers to receive a one-time grant of Rs 2000 ahead of Durga Puja.” The amount has been doubled from last year when each committee received Rs 25,000 from the state government to organise the Pujo.

Banerjee has also announced a 50 per cent rebate in the electricity charges of the pandal. The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC)  will take only 50 per cent of the total electricity bill. Moreover, the fire brigades and Kolkata Municipality Corporation (KMC) will not charge any fee from the committees.

On the occasion of Mahalaya, Mamata Banerjee took to Twitter to extend her wishes to people and to ensure that Durga Puja festival will not lose its light due to COVID-19. She tweeted, “Although #COVID19 has restricted how we celebrate festivals, we shall not allow it to dampen the spirit of this Durga Puja.”

Adding further she said, “I vow to ensure that this Durga Pujo, no one is devoid of the festivities. I urge everyone to come forward, extend a helping hand to those in need & spread joy everywhere.”

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