Bengal: Durga Puja committees to get Rs 50,000 govt grant each for second year
Kolkata, Sep 7: For the second year in a row, the West Bengal government announced a grant of Rs 50,000 to each Durga Puja committee in the state primarily to make up for lost sponsorship and extra expenditure due to the Covid pandemic.
Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi on Tuesday also announced free licences as well as a 50 per cent discount on the power tariff for the committees organising Durga Puja this year. He was speaking at a programme where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met several Durga Puja organisers from Kolkata and other parts of the state.
Banerjee had announced a slew of doles including a grant of Rs 50,000 to all puja committees last year also. On Tuesday, the chief minister said the state government has taken permission before announcing the grant as the model code of conduct is currently in force. The Election Commission has recently announced that it will hold by-poll to Bhabanipur assembly constituency and "deferred adjourned" elections in two other seats on September 30.
"There are certain rules due to the by-elections. We have taken permission before organising this programme since it will be too late to announce puja protocols after the by-polls," said Banerjee who is likely to contest the bypoll from Bhabanipur in south Kolkata. She urged puja organisers to "strictly follow Covid-19 safety protocols and wear masks".
After reviewing the situation amid the threat of a third wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the state would decide on lifting the night curfew as many puja revellers go out pandal hopping during that hour, Banerjee said.
"We will review the Covid-19 situation and then decide on whether to host the (Durga Puja) Carnival," she said. In the carnival, organised by the West Bengal government, selected Durga idols are showcased in a procession at Red Road here.
Banerjee urged people to maintain peace and tranquillity in the state. The Bengal CM also said that she has requested the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare Durga Puja as Intangible Cultural Heritage and a global festival, as a large number of people from various communities assemble to celebrate it. This year the five-day festival of Durga Pujas will be held from October 11.