Different committees organising the festivities in the city rue inflated prices of commodities; budgets are closing in on the Rs 1-crore mark

Appeasing the gods doesn't come cheap in these times of near double-digit inflation. The celebrated Ramlilas of the city leading up to the Dussehra festival have just become costlier this year. As the committees prepare for the ten-day affair, the budgets have grown manifold with rising prices of food materials and other goods.

Head start:  Preparations on for Ramlila near the Red Fort, in Delhi on
Monday. Pic/Imtiyaz Khan

Despite that, many Ramlila committees across the city are going overboard with overall expenditure almost touching Rs 1 crore. The costs have grown by considerable percentage this year, as some of the committees are launching the shows on a grand-scale, hoping for an increased audience capacity.

Sri Ramlila Samiti Trans-Hindon is ready to go bigger with almost double the space, more food stalls and rides for viewers. They have kept things simple in terms of the theme and will only burn the three traditional effigies, unlike others, who are burning a fourth effigy, symbolising corruption on D-Day.

"The budget for our Ramlila has gone up to 70-80 lakh this year, owing to two reasons - rise in prices and enlarged space and arrangements. Last year, the budget had closed at Rs 40 lakh," said one of the organisers, on condition of anonymity.     

Most committees this year will have electronic Ravans to be burnt on the final day. Meanwhile, Shri Dharmik Committee, Lila Grounds, is sticking to an overall budget of Rs 64 lakh. "Our budget for this year's Ramlila has grown by 35 per cent as the prices of almost everything have gone to a new high, while last year we were done in about 44 lakh," said Pradeep Sharan, secretary, Shri Dharmik Committee.

Tight security
Durga Puja celebrations are slated to begin in just over a week.

Preparations have started amidst high security and various puja grounds are being checked by the police thrice a day. The budgets of various puja committees vary between Rs 30-35 lakh in CR Park.