Coronavirus | No visitors allowed inside Durga Puja pandals across West Bengal: Calcutta High Court – The Hindu

Kolkata News

Only organizers of the Durga Puja committees can enter pandals in numbers ranging from 15 to 25

No visitors will be allowed inside Durga Puja pandals across West Bengal and the Puja mandap will be treated as a ‘containment zone’ this year, the Calcutta High Court said in an order on Monday.

A division bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee in the order said that only organizers of the Durga Puja committees can enter pandals in numbers ranging from 15 to 25. The Court said that ‘ No Entry” notices should be put up near Durga Puja pandals this year and the awareness drive should be taken to inform people about the High Court’s order.

Hearing a public interest litigation on the issue of Durga Pujas being allowed in the State during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court observed that the police does not have enough resources to control the crowd if people descend to the streets.

“The Calcutta High Court said that in case of small Durga Puja pandals five metres and for large puja pandals ten metres should be declared a no-entry zone. The distance will have to be measured from the place where the boundary of Durga Puja pandal ends,” Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, advocate appearing for the petitioner, said.

Also read: Kolkata caught between festivities and fear of COVID-19

The Court also directed that the names of Durga Puja organizers allowed inside puja pandal will be displayed outside the pandal, and cannot be changed every day.

The order assumes huge significance as there are about 37,000 Durga Pujas organised across the State despite warnings issued by doctors that crowding during the Durga Puja can worsen COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few days, the State is recording a new spike in COVID-19 cases every day and more than 60 deaths.

Last week the Calcutta High Court, in another significant order, directed that money allocated by the State government to Durga Puja can only be spent on distribution of masks, sanitisers and community policing, and not for organizing Durga Puja or entertainment of organizers.

The State government has announced ₹50,000 each to 37,000 community Durga Puja committees in the State.