BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: With just less than a month to go for Durga Puja, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that around 37,000 clubs will receive Rs 50,000 each in this pandemic to organise the biggest festival. That means, the chief minister will dole out Rs 185 crore for the 37,000 clubs in puja. Also, given COVID-19 situation, the puja committees will also get a 50 per cent discount on electricity expenses and they will not have to pay taxes to fire brigade fees or to the municipal corporation. In 2019, Mamata gave Rs 25,000 each to 28,000 clubs during Durga Puja.
The chief minister said that despite her government facing shortage of funds, she will help the puja organisers with Rs 50,000 each and give 81,000 hawkers Rs 2,000 each.
This year, Mamata has decided to do away with the huge immersion carnival on Red Road to avoid crowd and keep the coronavirus in check. “We did not hold any functions of Eid on Red Road and even the celebration of Independence Day was done on a small scale. We will not do the carnival this year but in 2021, there will twice a big celebration,” she said.
Also, she said the pandals need to airy and open. Also, physical distancing has to be maintained and the pandals will have separate entry and exit gates. Also, people can enjoy pandal hopping for nine days (from Tritiya to Ekadashi). The clubs will have to deploy volunteers who will be required to wear masks and face shields. Also, most pujas will have to be inaugurated virtually this year to avoid crowd.