In a joint meeting on Friday, India’s Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) chalked out a plan to conduct the Durga idol immersion event on the Ichamati river on Dashami.
The meeting was also attended by West Bengal Plice and local municipal authorities. The Ichamati river separates the two countries in the eastern part of North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal.
At the meeting, BSF 153 Battalion in-charge Niraj Kumar, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) representative, Basirhat DSP Mohsin Akhtar and BDO Arindam Mukherjee, among others, were present, PTI reported.
Keeping in mind the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities decided that no one will be allowed beyond the international border’s zero point. The number of puja committee boats with Durga idols will also be limited, unlike what happens every year. Between five to 10 people will be allowed per boat.
While four Durga idols from Bangladesh are slated to be immersed during the event, around 40 idols of puja committees in Basirhat and Taki will be immersed by the Indian side.
On Dashami, tourists from both India and Bangladesh filling the rivers to watch the immersion up close is a common phenomenon. However, this year the authorities have called a prohibition on this trend.
Tourists won’t be allowed beyond the zero point on the land where they’ll be strictly asked to maintain social distancing and adhere to other necessary COVID-19 protocols.
The idol immersion in the midstream of the river, wherein puja committees from both India and Bangladesh take part, is a spectacular sight attracting thousands of tourists from West Bengal to Taki, the border town in North 24 Parganas district.
The coronavirus pandemic had created doubts whether the idol immersion at Ichamati on Dashami will happen. However, strong appeals from various club of both the countries to the district authority to allow the practice albeit on a small scale paid dividends.
Meanwhile, the Calcutta High Court, earlier this week, had ordered against the gathering of people in Durga Puja pandals to avoid the risk of spreading coronavirus at a greater rate than it’s already happening.
Declaring all the pandals as ‘no-entry zones’ across West Bengal, the High Court bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee, earlier this week, ordered that 60 members in big-ticket Durga Pujas and 30 in smaller ones be allowed inside the pandals. The Puja Committees were instructed to prepare a list of people who would be allowed.
Thr HC directed puja committees that all pandals will have to erect barricades at the entrance of the pandals and the distance is five meters for small pandals and 10 meters for big pandals.