Durga Puja revellers can now catch a glimpse of the best idols this year from the galleries at Red Road on 14 October. Announcing this at Netaji Indoor Stadium this evening, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that the state government is coming up with an arrangement wherein puja committees that receive Biswa Banga awards, prizes from the Kolkata Police, Kolkata Municipal Corporation and a few private organisations would be able to showcase their idols in a rally that will be organised at Red Road at 4 p.m.
The arrangement will be similar to that organised at Chandannager for Jagadhatri Puja.“Spectators have to occupy their seats by 3 p.m.Seats in the galleries on both the sides of Red Road will be allotted on a first come first serve basis,” Banerjee said. Police will prepare a list of the puja committees and coordinate with them. They will be informed about the routes as well. Also, with Muharram falling immediately after Durga Puja, immersion dates have been rescheduled.
Immersion will be allowed till 4 p.m. on 11 October (Dashami) and Muharram rallies would be taken out from 6 p.m. onwards. Immersion will be again allowed throughout 13 October. During a meeting with heads of all religious communities and puja committee members from Kolkata, Banerjee announced a three per cent additional discount on electricity tariff and online applications and permission for organising pujas. Like in the previous year, puja committees will be provided a complete waiver of the KMC tax on puja advertisements and Rs 10,000 each for all pujas where women are at the helm and for pujas where the organisers are financially weak. Banerjee asked urban development minister Firad Hakim to ensure that a similar tax waiver is offered by all the urban bodies. “KMC will give Rs.10,000 each to allwomen pujas.Kolkata Police will assist 25 all-women and 25 poor puja committees. Similar assistance will be provided by the police in the districts,” she said In an attempt to prevent a disaster akin to what happened at Deshapriya Park last year, Banerjee said adequate measures like increasing number and width of the gates and installing microphones should be taken. Organisers of the Deshapriya Park puja kept only one gate and kept the government in the dark about the lack of arrangements, she complained.
Appreciating the efforts of clubs to ensure responsible behaviour during previous pujas, Banerjee urged clubs, imams, youths and members of all communities to maintain communal harmony. There are a few who do not like the peace here and want to create some disturbances,she said. The government has introduced e-window system that will enable puja organisers to apply and get permissions online from 24 September. Organisers will no longer have to hop from one department to another to submit applications,forms and collect permissions. They will be able to fill up forms and submit them online as well as deposit money online or in cash. The system will make the entire process of getting clearances from the departments much easier, she added.