Durga puja organisers in the Uttar Pradesh capital heaved a sigh of relief as the state government has finally allowed Durga puja with idols even in parks and other places strictly adhering to Covid-19 guidelines.
The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday announced the ‘Re-open’ guidelines, paving the way for public celebration of Durga Puja, Ramleela, larger political activities including those for the UP Assembly bypolls on seven seats, or larger marriage gatherings.
“We are happy about the state government decision in allowing Durga puja. The uncertainty has finally ended. We will go for smaller size idols and shall follow all the guidelines,” said Arun Banerjee, president of the Bengali Club.
“We are the oldest organisation in the city celebrating Durga puja for more than 100 years now. It was difficult to discontinue a century-old tradition. This Durga puja let’s pray to God to kill the demon virus which has claimed several lives in the country,” he said.
Rabindra Palli puja committee president Mihir Banerjee said, “This is a welcome decision. This is our 37th year. We are going for Kalash puja or will go for small size Durga idols. No distribution of ‘bhog’ (Prasad) will be conducted and will organise ‘pushpanjali’ in small batches.”
Tirtho Sengupta of RDSO Durga puja committee said, “We are happy with the decision. A meeting has been called on Friday evening to discuss the arrangements. We will place an order for small-sized idols.”
An elated Manoj Bhadra, president of Bondhu Mahal said, “During the pandemic along with celebrating Durga Puja, we will have to look into the health of devotees visiting the pandals.”
“We have decided to strictly follow the Covid-19 guidelines in our Puja pandal,” he said. Bhadra said, “Though we are getting a very short time to prepare for the puja, our members will work to make it a grand event with curtailed programmes.”
He said, “We have ordered for a small Durga protima and our ‘purohit’ and ‘dhaki’ have confirmed their participation.”
Ramakrishna Math, which has been organising ‘Durga Puja’ for nearly 40 years now, is going ahead with the rituals. “We will follow all Covid guidelines, including social distancing and limited gathering,” said Swami Muktinathananda, president of the math.