West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to virtually inaugurate several Durga Pujas in Kolkata and some south Bengal districts from the state secretariat on Thursday afternoon.
A day before, she had inaugurated 69 pujas which are being organised in 10 districts of north Bengal, including Darjeeling and Kalimpong hills.
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Meanwhile, a PIL has been filed in the Calcutta high court to stall the festivities around the Durga Puja which starts from next week. The PIL says that the festivities could lead to a surge in Covid-19 cases as was seen in Kerala after Onam. The matter is likely to be heard on Friday.
“This is for the first time that I am inaugurating and seeing some of the pujas in the districts as everything is being done virtually because of the pandemic,” Banerjee said, while inaugurating some of the pujas on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Banerjee had announced that she would virtually inaugurate dozens of pujas this time. Some of the major pujas in Kolkata, patronised by senior Trinamool Congress leaders and ministers would be inaugurated from Thursday.
“She is expected to inaugurate pujas in north Kolkata while on October 15 and those in south Kolkata the next day,” said a government official.
Durga Puja would be celebrated for four days starting October 23. This year, more than 37,000 pujas would be organised across the state, including more than 2,500 in Kolkata and around 1,700 pujas which are organised by women. The list doesn’t include those organised inside housing societies and homes.
While the festive season has started and puja shopping is going on in full swing, puja committees are hiving final touches to the pandals. Several restrictions, such as a ban on cultural programs near pandals and no entry in pandals without masks, have been imposed. The immersion carnival, a pet project of Banerjee’s which had become a major crowd puller, has also been cancelled this year because of the pandemic.