Saradha scam casts shadow over Durga Pujas in Kolkata, leads to budget cut

Kolkata, Oct 1: The Saradha chit fund scam has not only cast a shadow on Bengal's politics but also the biggest festival of the Bengalis, Durga Puja. According to a report published in Business Standard on Wednesday, budgets of leading Durga Pujas have dried up significantly for corporate fundings have begun to diminish.

Leading Durga Puja organisers said the budgets were down by 15 to 20 per cent, the report added.

Companies like Saradha, Rose Valley, Icore, MPS and Ramel Group and others have been the biggest fund providers for the Pujas but things have bgun to change after the Saradha Ponzi Scheme went bust last year. The massive embezzlement is the biggest in the history of the state and has put the ruling Trinamool Congress in a serious spot. Even the symbol of chief minister of the state, Mamata Banerjee, who is often projected as the 'symbol of honesty', has come under serious threat.

Recently, Rose Valley has also come under the scanner of the investigators in connection to alleged mishandling of funds.

The Saradha scam has also made other big companies apprehensive about spending on advertisements this festive season.

Some companies are, however, trying innovative ways to fund the Durga Pujas in the city, the BS report said. While Tanishq chose to give jewellery to the Durga idol at Ekdalia Evergreen Club, a popular Puja in south Kolkata, organisers of another Puja in south-east Kolkata have constructed the pandal with 3 lakh Parle-G biscuits to boost the brand and hence facilitate the Puja, the report said.

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