Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered that Durga Puja celebrations will be regulated in West Bengal in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the court order, Durga Puja festivities will be subdued in the state this year and restrictions will be in place to check that the festival does not result in a spike in Covid-19 cases. Also Read - Durga Puja 2020 Kolkata News: 50 Big Pandals That Have Gone Online to Avoid Huge Lines
All Durga Puja pandals have been declared no-entry zones in West Bengal. Only organisers can enter the pandals, the Calcutta HC said in its order. Names of people allowed to enter the pandals to be displayed outside it. Also Read - Durga Puja 2020: Committee in Kolkata Installs Giant TV Screens to Help People Watch Decoration and Idol
“Now that pandals have already come up and there were no curbs in the state. The common citizen should be discouraged to gather in the pandals. The measures that have been announced by the state are well planned but without a proper blueprint to be implemented on the ground,” the court said. Also Read - Mamata Unveils 'London-like' Open Roof Double Decker Buses in Kolkata Ahead of Durga Puja
“The apprehension that crowding could lead to an uncontrollable burst in the number of people afflicted by the virus,” it said.
“In the run up to the pujas, the crowding around the markets in big city Kolkata or small towns has remained ‘unchecked’. The same cannot be repeated over the five days during the durga puja,” the court added.
“If the pandals are made no entry zones and all sides are covered as part of the no entry zones, the public at large will know that there will be no access to the pandal and vicinity, the affinity to hit the streets will be less,” it further said.
The judge said in his order, “The virus refuses to go away. Though the healthcare facilities had been augmented with limited resources available. In this situation, than to allow festivities to go on without any checks and repent when the time to cure arrives and adequate resources are not available therefore. The police cannot be blamed with limited resources at their disposal.”
“When students across schools, colleges or in higher studies have not attended the educational institutions for almost six months and several students stand to lose a year, it is rather incongruous that puja festivities be permitted to continued as earlier years,” he added.
“If Kolkata Police does not have adequate personnel to manage 3,000 pujas within it’s jurisdiction. The state police will have to control the crowd at 31,000 other pujas in districts across the state. The state had submitted 170 crore rupees were distributed among the 34,000 Durga pujas,” he further said.