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Durga Puja In West Bengal: Pandal Restrictions Partially Eased; Modi's Address Now From Poll Booths

The Calcutta High Court raised the cap of committee members inside Durga puja pandals.
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Representative image.
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Representative image.

Durga Puja begins in West Bengal from Thursday and amid confusion about barricades and restrictions, the Calcutta High Court has eased the restrictions a little in terms of how many organisers can be inside pandals.

Outside visitors are still not allowed in.

Meanwhile, the BJP now says Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech will be telecast from all of the states polling booths. The BJP had earlier said that the live address called “Puja ki baat” will be telecast from Durga Puja pandals.

Here’s whats happening in Bengal at the moment.

Calcutta HC raises cap on pandal entries

According to reports the Calcutta High Court has now raised the cap on the number of organisers allowed inside pandals, and this includes dhaki, or traditional drummers, while visitors will still not be allowed.

The court has said that a list of the people who can enter the pandal for the day has to be put up outside at 8 am everyday.

The Telegraph reported that bigger pandals with an area of more than 300 sq metre can have 60 people on their list but only 45 people will be allowed at one time.

The number were increased for the smaller pandals too.

Anandabazar Patrika reported that for smaller pandals 30 people can be listed for entry in no entry zones while only 15 can be there at a time.

The court however refused to allow rituals like sindoor khela and anjali.

NDTV quoted the court as saying, “Life has not been normal for the human species since 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.”

Mod’s address from poll booths

After BJP hit roadblock with arranging for Modi’s speech to be telecast from puja pandals, it is now being reported it will be telecast from polling booths.

PTI reported that the BJP has made elaborate arrangements for live-viewing of Modi’s address at 12 noon on Thursday in every polling booth across the state’s 294 Assembly constituencies.

BJP sources told the news agency that more than 25 party workers and voters will be able to watch the address in each of the over 78,000 polling booths while adhering to social-distancing norms.

In the run-up to the prime minister’s address, there will be a cultural programme at the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC) in Kolkata from 10 am on Thursday in the presence of senior West Bengal BJP leaders, sources said.

It was reported earlier that Mamata Banerjee’s puja package to several committees in the state created a hindrance to BJP’s plans for Modi’s speech.

The Telegraph had reported that many committees refused to put up screens for Modi’s address because they have taken a grant of Rs 50,000 from the state government for the Durga Puja. The grant has been given to 36,946 Durga Puja committees in the state.

(With PTI inputs)

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This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost India, which closed in 2020. Some features are no longer enabled. If you have questions or concerns about this article, please contact indiasupport@huffpost.com.