KOLKATA: It was not Khunti Puja, but puja organisers in Kolkata chose to honour doctors, healthcare sector workers and Covid survivours to inaugurate the puja season this year.
Trying to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic most of the durga puja organisers have chosen to bring down the scale and grandeur of the celebration this year. Instead of going for the conventional “khunti puja” (pre-pandal making event) puja organisers at the Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha felicitated doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and other health care workers.
Robin Ganguly, president of Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha said “God’s fight with evil is as old as the universe itself. At present the fight is with the Corona virus and it seems to continue for long. Covid warriors are tirelessly striving to save people from the pandemic.”
In Behala, S B Park Sarbojonin Durgotsav committee invited doctors and health care sector workers to inaugurate the pre-pandal making event. Instead of petal-shower, drones were used to spray sanitiser in the area. “We will abide by each of the guidelines put in place by the state government. The pandal is being erected in such a way that visitors can watch the idol from a distance. We will keep enough arrangements for any visitor who might feel unwell during the celebration,” said Sanjay Mazumdar of S B Park Sarbojonin.
According to Nirmal Maji, president of West Bengal Medical Council such gestures from communities will actually help in fighting the stigma against health care sector workers and Covid-19 patients. “We need to put up a human face to those who are suffering from the disease. Puja committees represent smaller communities and that will help in building the awareness,” he said.
While the puja organisers are not getting much of corporate interest this year for promotion, sponsors are however coming forward to support events related to Covid-19 awareness build up. Prasenjit Ukil, regional head (east) of AU Bank said, “we are tying up with several such organisers in their endeavour to pay tribute to the Covid warriors. They are the real heroes and we will encourage them.”