KOLKATA: There will be minimum barricading at some of the top attractions of north Kolkata in order to prevent queuing. Ahiritolla Sarbojanin, Chorbagan, Jagat Mukherjeer Park and Kumortulli Park have decided to do away with barricades near their entrances at a meeting held with senior traffic police officers on Thursday. Pandal-hoppers, though, will not be allowed to stand close to the pandal entrance for a better view as it will hinder the flow of crowd. No selfies will be allowed either. Not more than 80 persons will be allowed at a time into parks where Pujas are held.
“Barricades have been done away to ensure there is physical distancing. The moment people queue up, it becomes difficult to maintain distance,” said an officer from the north police division. While Ahiritolla will keep only two guardrails at the entrance to stop people from entering the pandal premises, pandal-hoppers will get the entire road to have a glimpse of pandal before walking away.
At Chorbagan, Kumotulli Sarbojanin and Kumortulli Park, pandal-hoppers will be entering pandal structure from one end and then walk away from the other. Again, no one will be allowed to stand near the pandal and the idol will be visible from a long distance.
Ahiritolla Sarbojanin plans to place the idol close to the main road so that devotees get an unhindered view from a distance. “Our pandal will be open from all four sides. Devotees will walk down the road and then return. There will be no VIP gates. A decision in this regard has now been approved in our meeting and is final,” said Dulal Sil, joint general secretary of Ahiritolla Sarbojanin.
At Jagat Mukherjee Park, stated joint secretary Dwaipayan Roy, the plan is to let in only five to seven people inside the park at one go. “No one will be allowed to wait. We will be setting up barricades keeping a 15 feet gap from the idol. Except for where Maa Durga will be installed, the rest of the pandal will be open. Besides masks and sanitizers, we are keeping thermal guns.
The north’s experiment with barricades might well become the model, says a Forum for Durgoutsav member and himself a senior official of the Tala Barowari. Abhishek Bhattacharya, the general secretary of Tala Barowari, stated that barricades were indeed an hindrance. Maintaining physical distancing is impossible inside barricades where people tend to push. “Instead, it’s important we keep them moving all the time. We will take help of volunteers to do exactly that,” said Bhattacharya.