Durga Puja celebrations set to be low-key in Kolkata amid COVID-19
The power department is ready to provide electricity and have a surplus, but since pujas will not be taking place on a large scale, there is no foreseeable solution
Keeping in mind the risks of COVID-19, big-budget Durga Puja committees in Kolkata have decided not to celebrate the festival in a grand manner. "This year, due to COVID-19, there is a lot of uncertainty about how many people will come out for the festival and maintaining social distancing and sanitisation on such a large scale will be very difficult. This is why members of big-budget puja committees have decided against celebrating in a grand manner. The demand for power supply will be less due to this," West Bengal Power Minister Sovandeb Chatterjee told ANI.
He further said that there was a surplus of power, and without demand from major puja committees, losses would continue. "Every year before Durga Puja, we hold a meeting to evaluate how much electricity usage will be required. Already due to the COVID-19 situation, we are running at a loss of Rs 2,500 crore. The power department is ready to provide electricity and have a surplus, but since pujas will not be taking place on a large scale, there is no foreseeable solution. Lightning arrangements and decorations will not be as elaborate as the previous years so there won't be an increase in demand," Chatterjee said.
Earlier in September, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that organising cultural programmes at pandals won't be allowed during the festival.
"During Durga Puja, a pandal needs to be open from all four sides. Hand sanitisers should be placed at entry points of pandals, and the wearing of masks to be mandatory. Physical distancing needs to be maintained. Organising cultural programmes at pandals won't be allowed," Mamata said.
This year, Durga Puja be celebrated from October 23 to October 26.
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