Bengal Kali Puja committees to shun pomp and glitz this year

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Kolkata, Nov 8 (PTI) Kali Puja committees in West Bengal have decided to shun pomp and glitz and celebrate the festival in a subdued manner this year due to the COVID-19 situation.

Several renowned pujas in Kolkata and neighbouring Barasat town in North 24 Parganas district have decided to do away with illumination and reduce the height of the idols, besides keeping the marquees open from three sides as per a Calcutta High Court order.

The court has ordered that safety measures akin to those imposed during Durga Puja, including barring revellers from entering marquees, be undertaken during Kali Puja which falls on November 14 this year.

It has also banned the sale and bursting of firecrackers during Kali Puja and other upcoming festivals.

A popular puja in Girish Park area in north Kolkata has decided to keep its inauguration low-key by burning a coronavirus-shaped lamp.

'We have decided to do away with illumination along the C R Avenue and instead opted for symbolic burning of the 'coronademon',' a spokesperson of the Girish Park Five Star Sporting Club Kali Puja Committee said.

The Amherst Street Sadharan Kali Puja Committee has decided to reduce the height of its idol by half to seven feet and shun all extravaganza in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the death of its patron and Congress leader Somen Mitra in July, a spokesperson said.

The Nabayuvak Sangha Kali Puja Committee in central Kolkata has decided to make the marquee a 'no entry zone' for revellers as per the court directive.

'We haven't reduced the height of the idol from 12-14 feet but we have set up barricades 30 metres from where the idol will be kept. We have also decided to do away with illumination from Hooghly's Chandannagore,' committee member Dhananjay Kar said.

In Barasat, where lakhs used to descend during three evenings from Kali Puja to Bhai Phonta to witness theme-based decoration, none of the major puja committees are setting up large marquees due to the pandemic situation this year.

'We are setting up a pandal that is open on three sides. After discussions with the Barasat Municipality, we have decided to do away with the practice of erecting illuminated gates near marquees.

'Most of the pandals are very basic without any decoration. We will celebrate the puja in a simple manner this year,' Shyamal Kar, a member of a puja committee in Nabapally area in Barasat said. PTI SUS ACD ACD