Durga puja this year has come with a difference. For more than last six months, our country as well as the whole world is battling hard with the deadly Covid-19 Pandemic. With proper vaccines still not making an appearance in the market and the number of Covid positive patients still increasing rapidly, there is definitely a reason for concern. Thus, this year, the matter of crowd control is very crucial for the big puja organisers as well as the administration. Experts are fearing that the festive season could lead to a rise in the number of cases of the Coronavirus disease across the country. Though the government has, after many dilemmas, given nod to the celebration, the organisers will have to strictly follow several guidelines to prevent the pandals from getting crowded.
THE PREPARATION IS IN FULL SWING :
“Three sides open”, “two sides open”, “drive-in pandals – this is what the buzz around Durga puja sounds like this year. Pandals are constructed in such a manner, so as to optimise the crowd control. Moreover drive-in pandals have been built, which might prove a practical solution in certain wider streets. Even, rival puja committees have joined hands for displaying a common theme, so they can perfect the drive-in concept. VIP passes have been replaced by E-passes. Many pujas are giving up on the “theme” this year and are planning to stick to the very basic. In several pujas this year, the asura has
shifted from being a buffalo to the Coronavirus globule, the biggest evil the human race is fighting currently. Owing to the shortage of fund, many smaller pujas are cutting down on their expenses and hence there is a remarkable change in the size of pandal, lighting, size of idol, etc. Even the big budget pujas are opting for smaller pandals and there is reduction in the size or height of the idols. The Pandemic has affected not only the worshippers, but also those who depend upon festivities as a source of income.
PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN :
Durga puja organisers (of all sizes), across Kolkata, are hopeful that they will be able to celebrate the festival (obviously a scaled-down one), by taking proper safety measures. Sanitization tunnels, open marquees, drive-in and digital viewings are some of the new features that are to be witnessed during this year’s puja. Most of the pujas, which draw huge crowds every year, are setting up sanitization tunnels through which visitors will make entry and exit from the pandals. Giant screens will also be put up at vantage points for devotees to have ” Darshan “, without entering the main marquees. Many pujas are exploring digital options to live stream their pujas for those who would stay indoors. Those of you who are planning to go out and do a bit of pandal hopping, please try to follow certain precautionary measures :
• Go to nearby pujas. Avoid crowded public transport.
• While travelling in public transport, use sanitiser if you hold any rod or any door.
• Avoid crowded pandals.
• Use mask everytime you go out.
• While in crowd, try to keep as much distance as possible.
• Carry sanitizer and always sanitize your hand before you eat anything.
• After coming back home, take a hot shower and wash the clothes.
• Try to keep aged people and children at home. Do not take them to crowded places.
We, from Kolkata Facilities Management, wish all of you a very happy Durga Puja! Stay alert, stay safe.