A day before the Durga Puja festival, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday (October 21) eased its order declaring the Puja marquees “no-entry zones” for visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The court allowed the entry of up to 45 people at a time after 400 top Durga Puja organisers in Kolkata sought a review of the previous order.
The court also said a “limited number” of traditional drummers were allowed to perform outside the “no entry zone” of each marquee. However, the list of people allowed near the marquee should be fixed on a daily basis, the court added.
The lists will be put up every morning at 8 am outside the marquees, according to NDTV.
While the larger marquees (with an area of more than 300 sq metre) can list up to 60 people, only 45 people will be allowed at a time. The smaller marquees can list up to 15 people.
This development comes just a few hours after doctors in West Bengal welcomed the Calcutta High Court’s previous order of no-visitors entry inside marquees.
The Calcutta High Court on Monday declared all pandals across West Bengal no-entry zones to prevent the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state. A division bench of the high court comprising Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee, while hearing a public interest litigation said that no visitors will be allowed to enter the marquees.
Doctors appealed to Durga Puja organisers to follow the restrictions to stem a possible surge of the COVID-19 infections in the state during the festivities. Describing the order as “historic”, doctors had said that if clubs and puja committees adhere to the directive the COVID-19 transmission would definitely be restricted to a certain level.
“This is a revolutionary and historic verdict of the Calcutta High Court. Understanding the situation and the realising the importance of the verdict people must adhere to it. Nobody is against any festival but we must understand that avoiding gatherings is the safest option to stem the transmission,” Protect the Warriors (a doctors’ forum fight the pandemic) secretary ENT consultant Dr Abhik Ghosh said.
Doctors have been issuing warnings that the state might see a tsunami of COVID-19 infections if people are not restricted from gatherings during this year’s Durga Puja festival, which is West Bengal’s biggest occasion.
West Bengal, where the number of daily infections witnessed a decline mid-August till early September, has been registering record spike of new infections every day following people going for a shopping spree at malls and market places for the festivities.
The state has reported 3,29,057 COVID-19 cases and 6,180 deaths from the viral disease so far.
(With inputs from agencies)