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Sudipta Das | HENB | Kolkata | Sept 24, 2020:: Eyeing to next year’s Assembly Election in West Bengal, WB CM is again trumped with a soft Hindutva card to get a win in the game. After announcing Rs 1000/- per month for 8000 Hindu priests (Brahmins) in the state, Mamata Banerjee again announced a Hindu sop to reduce her image as an appeaser of Muslims only. WB chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced a grant of Rs 50,000 to each Durga Puja committee in the state.
Announcing a slew of doles for around 37,000 Durga Puja committees in the state, Banerjee said that the fire brigade, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), other civic bodies, municipalities and panchayats will not charge any money or tax for their services from the puja organisers.
“Due to the Covid pandemic, it has been a tough time for all of us. We have decided to provide Rs 50,000 grant to each Durga Puja committee of the state. We have also decided that CESC and the state electricity board will give 50 per cent waiver for the puja committees,” she said addressing the Durga Puja Coordination meeting here.
Mamata Banerjee asked the committees to prepare open-air marquees in view of the contagion and ensure that pandal hoppers wear mask maintaining all social distancing etc. under the ‘new normal’ or the ‘un-lock unfolding’.
The chief minister also announced a one time grant of Rs 2,000 for 81,000 hawkers of the state as they had faced a difficult time due to the lockdown.
Experts say, the total expenditure for the onetime grant of Rs 50000 to 37000 puja committees will stand at Rupees 185 Crores from which local TMC leaders and goons will get their share of over 50 crores as a cut money from it to make a gala festivity of ensuing Durga Puja in Bengal.
“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 while launching a veiled attack against the opposition.
“We will put coronavirus in lockdown and hold the puja this year,” the CM said.
This year more than 37,000 pujas would be organised across the state, including more than 2,500 in Kolkata and around 1,700 pujas which are organised by women. The list doesn’t include those organised inside housing societies and houses.
“We are facing hardships and are running short of funds. We have spent more than Rs 2,500 crore. But I know puja committees are in problem and the state would provide you a grant of Rs 50,000 each. I know the finance secretary would be angry. But I would request him to give 81,000 hawkers Rs 2,000 each for the puja month,” said Banerjee.
In Netaji Indoor Stadium programme, Mamata handed over Cheques under different schemes and announcements to Brahmin Priests, WB Hindi Academy and Islamia Hospital for their development and prosperity.
Here is a list of what you can expect this time:
* No Immersion Carnival on Red Road this year.
* No cultural programs during puja days
* Masks, sanitisers to be made mandatory within a radius of 500 metres of every pandal.
* More airy and open pandals with special stress on physical distance. Clubs to deploy more volunteers.
* Process of selecting the best pujas and awarding them to be done virtually.
* Permission for pujas to be done online
* Puja organisers need not pay the fees to the civic body and fire brigade. Power supply fees slashed to 50%
* Pandal hopping allowed at night for nine days
* Puja inauguration to be done in a small scale and mostly virtually
The chief minister also announced a few sops for the civic volunteers and ASHA workers. While the festive season has already started with the Mahalaya and Viswakarma puja on September 17, the Durga puja would be held between October 22-25.
Read this news in Bengali: দুর্গা পুজো কমিটিগুলোকে ৫০ হাজারের অনুদান মুখ্যমন্ত্রীর
News Flow: PTI | ABP.