The Calcutta High Court on Monday said that the Durga Puja pandals will be no-entry zones for visitors this year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The court said that only organizers will be allowed inside the pandals limiting the number to 25 for big pandals and 15 for the smaller pandals.
The court also said that all pandals will have to erect barricades at their entrance, the distance is five meters for small pandals and double that for the big ones.
The high court, underscoring the need for compliance in view of the public health said that there are not enough policemen in Kolkata to man crowds at the city’s 3000 plus pandals.
Notably, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced last month to hold puja this year by keeping aside the coronavirus in lockdown. “We will surely organise the Durga puja this year. We have to avoid crowds at any cost because vultures are sitting out there to blame us if we don’t allow the puja or if any spike occurs after the puja. They have no responsibility,” she said.
The coronavirus figures have been on the rise across the city as people, over the past weeks, started shopping for the pujas.
Throwing caution to the winds, they gathered at the city’s shopping areas big and small. Social distancing rules went out of the window as they queued and jostled to get inside the shops. Masks were rarely worn.