No Durga Puja carnival in Kolkata due to Covid-19 this year: Mamata Banerjee
Kolkata/IBNS: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said people of her state will have to give the Durga Puja carnival a miss this year, owing to the Covid-19 situation.
"We are not going to organise the carnival this year so that the infections do not spread. We will do it even bigger the next year," Banerjee said at the administrative and coordination meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium here.
The Durga Puja carnival, which is the brainchild of Banerjee, is held every year at Red Road displaying the selected idols of Maa Durga.
Banerjee on Thursday began the meeting with the dos and don'ts for the puja, urging people to wear masks while entering pandals, use sanitizers and maintain physical distancing.
Besides giving instructions to people, the CM came out with a flurry of announcements which will certainly cheer the puja committees.
The state government this year will support more than 30,000 puja committees with Rs. 50,000 each.
No permission or corporation or municipality charge will be levied on the puja committee which will also enjoy 50 per cent off on electricity bills across the state.
Taking a jibe at the opposition, mostly the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Banerjee expressed her Catch-22 saying, "If we do not allow puja, then they (Opposition) will accuse us of not allowing festivals. If we regulate pujas and make it happen, they will accuse us of leading to Covid-19 spread. People who are not in power have no responsibilities."
Besides the puja announcement, the CM on Thursday announced a raise in salaries of Asha workers and civic volunteers and retirement benefits for Angadwadi workers.
The state government will provide Rs. 2,000 to hawkers during Durga Puja. "We would provide Rs. 2,000 to hawkers so that they can at least buy clothes for their families," said Banerjee.