Durga puja is the biggest festival of West Bengal, But due to covid19 pandemic Kolkata High Court declare some guidelines during this festival. In an attempt to curb the Covid-19 spread during Durga Puja, the West Bengal government has banned cultural programmes at puja pandals and has urged the organisers to stagger the festivities over additional days so that people can participate while maintaining social distancing.
All the Durga Puja pandals in West Bengal will be no-entry zone for visitors and only organizers will allowed to enter the pandals amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Calcutta High Court ordered on Monday. The names of people allowed to enter the pandals will be displayed outside it.
The court also highlighted that five metres beyond the extremities of the small pandals and 10 metres beyond the bigger pandals are to be barricaded and demarcated as no entry zones.
There are over 34,000 Puja pandals in all over the Bengal. Some Importants Guidelines that have to follow those puja pandals are :
Open pandals: The state government has directed all organisers to ensure that puja pandals are spacious and are open from all sides, with separate entry and exit points for visitors.
No cultural programme: The government has banned cultural programmes inside or near the puja pandals.
Online permission: All the puja pandals have to take online permission from the state government.
No carnival: The state government has cancelled the state carnival this year and has banned any fair or carnival near the pandals.
Masks and hand santisers: The organisers will have to ensure that all visitors wear masks at all times and use hand santisers before entering the puja pandal. The organisers will have to distribute masks and santisers in the close vicinity of the pandal for people who might have come to puja without one.
Low-key award judging: The government guidelines advocate for virtual judging of pandals. But if there has to be a physical visit by the judges then the number will have to be limited. Maximum two cars of the judging party can visit the pandal at a time.
Decongested rituals: Puja organisers have been asked to stagger rituals so that people can attend in smaller groups. The priests will use microphone while reciting prayers to ensure people can hear them while maintaing social distancing. Visitors have also been encouraged to bring their offerings like flowers from home to avoid crowds at stalls near pandals.
The high court bench, comprising of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee, stated that a maximum of 25 people should be allowed in big pandals and 15 in the smaller ones. As per the High Court order, only the organisers of Durga Puja will be allowed to enter the pandals and no visitors will be allowed to enter the marquees. The members entering the pandals will have to mention the names and place it outside the entrance.