The Calcutta High Court on Monday said Durga Puja pandals will be no-entry zones for the visitors and only the organizers will be allowed inside the pandals. The decision came amid the fears of a surge in coronavirus infections. Hearing a PIL filed by Ajay Kumar, the High Court directed the organizers to erect barricades at the entry gates of pandals with a distance of five meters for small pandals and double that for the big ones. The court has limited the entry of 25 members in big pandals and 15 for the smaller one. The Court directed all the puja committees to submit a blueprint on the crowd management.
Last month, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that Durga Puja will be organized this year. Without naming the opposition, she said the state will surely organize the Durga puja this year. She said that crowd gathering should be avoided at any cost because vultures are sitting out there to blame the government if any spike occurs after the puja. They have no responsibility.
The High Court has earlier asked all the Durga Puja organizers to spend 75 percent of the Rs 50,000 grant given by the Mamata Banerjee administration on the procurement of coronavirus protection equipment like masks and sanitizers. The Covid-19 cases have been on the rise across the city as people, over the past weeks, started shopping for the Durga puja. People threw caution to the winds and gathered at the city’s shopping areas, social distancing was nowhere to be seen.
The covid-19 fatality rate in West Bengal have crossed 6,000 mark. Fresh cases in the state are 3,983. As per the state health department, the total number of cases in the state are 3,21,036.