Kolkata Police has decided to field a nodal officer in every Durga Pujo pandel of the city to ensure that all the COVID-19 protocols and health guidelines are followed during the festive days.

As per a report carried by Bengali portal The Wall, the nodal officers, who will report to the officers-in-charge of the local police stations, will examine the arrangements done by the pujo committees in their respective pandals.

Other than making sure that only masked visitors are allowed inside the pandal and that strict social distancing measures are followed, the officers will also keep a close tab to check if the pujo premises is being regularly sanitisied or not.

Meanwhile, challenging the government’s decision to organise Durga Pujo this year and to pay a grant of Rs 50,000 to every pujo organisers, CITU leader from Durgapur Sourav Dutta had filed a petition in the Kolkata High Court.

Giving it’s judgement on Friday, Division Bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee directed that 75 per cent of the government grant should be spent in buying masks, sanitisers and face shields while the rest of the sum is to be utilised in improving police-public bonding.

The bench, during the hearing, noted, “We are proud of Durga Pujo. But can the government pay anyone it likes? Can there be such discrimination in a democratic system?” The court questioned why the government was paying during Durga Pujo and asked if it did the same during Eid.

The court directed that the money given by the state to the Durga Puja committees cannot be used for any other purpose like a soiree or entertainment of the organisers, and purchase bills of the masks and sanitisers have to be submitted to the authorities for audit.

The court even wanted to know what crowd controlling measures will the state follow during the days of the Pujo and asked them provide a blue-print of it.

The state in its response said that the concerned police departments were working on their strategies to control the crowd, keeping in mind the severity of the ongoing pandemic.

Justice Banerjee-led bench asked, “If the police is doing everything, what is the logic behind paying the clubs?”