Clubs redo budget after Calcutta HC order – Times of India

Kolkata News

KOLKATA: The small puja committees are now busy reworking their budget after Friday’s Calcutta HC order that has capped the discretionary use of government grants. In an interim order, the court has ruled that 75% of the grant should be spent on masks and sanitizers for pandal-hoppers.
On Saturday morning, organizers of the Rajballav Para Pally Puja Samiti near Shyambazar tried to cut down some expenses to make provision for nearly Rs 32,500 out of Rs 50,000 grant that it needs to now spend only on masks and sanitizers.
Sreerupa Bonerjee, treasurer of the Samiti, said: “Since there were no such restrictions before, we had budgeted a portion of the fund for use in the puja. But now that we have to adhere to the order, we will only get Rs 17,500 for other expenses. We are now tinkering with our budget to ensure that at least basic costs for various rituals are met,” Bonerjee said.
Rakesh Makhija, secretary of the Bengal Boys’ Training Association in Tollygunge, said: “We have halved our budget this year to Rs 2.5 lakh. Sponsors are unable to pay anything this year and people are already burdened. The grant was a breather for many like us. We will abide by the rules and we are trying to find a way out,” Makhija said.
Tarun Shaw, secretary of Hindustan Boys’ Sporting Club at Taltala, felt they would not need much for masks and sanitizers not many visit their pandal. “There will hardly be anyone from outside,” Shaw said.
For big-budget Puja organizers, these costs were, however, already factored in. Despite a slashed budget this year, they had made elaborate provisions keeping the Covid-19 in mind. “We have already made provisions for masks and sanitizers. We will have volunteers checking temperature of each reveller and sanitizing them. All of them will wear PPE kits,” said Somen Dutta, organizer of Kashi Bose Lane Durgotsav.