Durga Puja organisers to move Calcutta HC to review ban on pandal visits

400 organisers, as part of the Forum for Durgotsav, will approach the Calcutta HC today

Durga Puja, Navaratri, Navratri, Bhatpara
Calcutta High Court has banned the entry of visitors in Durga Puja pandals

The organisers of Durga Puja in West Bengal will ask the Calcutta High Court today (October 20) to review its order of banning the entry of visitors in pandals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to reports, 400 organisers, as part of the Forum for Durgotsav, will approach the HC on Tuesday, just two days before the festival.

On Monday, Calcutta HC said Durga Puja pandals will be “no-entry zones” for the public. It added that only organisers should be allowed, 25 in big pandals, and 15 in small pandals.

“Life has not been normal for the human species since about March 2020 and it may have been better if restrictions were put in place as to how the Durga Puja festivities would be celebrated this year…. In public interest, all pandals where Durga Puja is being celebrated this year are made no-entry zones for members of the public,” the court said.

It is estimated that there are 34,000 pandals in the state for Durga Puja.

The court also said that pandals must be barricaded from all sides to prevent the entry of visitors. The barricades should be set up five metres away from small pandals and 10 metres away for big ones, the court said.

The court pointed out that there aren’t sufficient police personnel to guard the 3,000 odd pandals in the state capital Kolkata.

Saswat Bose, head of Durgotsav Forum, was quoted as saying, “This is a huge setback for us. For four months, we have been working at making things safe for visitors. We had made masks mandatory, sanitising gates were in place, we bought machines for thermal screening.”

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