Just a year short of the West Bengal Assembly polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a grant of Rs.50,000 for registered puja committees for this year’s Durga Puja celebrations, making way for hope for 37,000 puja committees in the state. These include puja pandals in building complexes too. Only Puja pandals which are registered for more than ten years will be applicable for Police permission.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been a tough time for all of us here. We have decided to provide Rs. 50,000 grant to each Durga Puja committee of the state. We have also decided that CESC and the state electricity board will give 50 per cent waiver for the puja committees.” Said Mamata while addressing the Durga Puja coordination meeting.
In 2019, Mamata had given out a grant of Rs.25,000 t0 28,000 puja pandals in the state. Though the Chief Minister and state Finance Minister Amit Mitra have been saying that the BJP led Centre has not given out funds that the state is entitled to, this move will weigh heavy on the state’s coffers. Not to forget that the state has been grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of cyclone Amphan which lashed out at West Bengal in May.
The other announcements made for this year’s Durga Puja include social distancing norms, wearing masks, no Kolkata Municipal Corporation(KMC) or fire brigade fees, 50% waiver of CESC(electricity) bills and no extravagant puja carnival on the red road will take place this year.