Organisers forced to watch the clock

Published: Oct 13, 2010, 09:11 IST | Vatsala Shrangi

Authorities have demanded that revelries end by 10 pm, even after the sporting event comes to a close

Authorities have demanded that revelries end by 10 pm, even after the sporting event comes to a close

It's a race against time this year for Durga Puja organisers in the city. And they can't be faulted for blaming the Commonwealth Games. In view of the stringent security requirements in the Capital, Delhi police and civic authorities have ordered that Puja celebrations be wrapped up by 10 pm every day.

The Navapalli Puja Samiti pandal at Chittaranjan Park. Pic/Arjun Panwar

"That's the time when cultural programmes usually begin every year. We have a huge bash on all the days of Puja. Most cultural events including live bands and dance performances begin after ten and go on till late in the night. The security concerns this time have played spoilsport," said 25-year-old Bijoy Sen, a CR Park resident and an IT professional.

The directive is expected to be implemented stringently, especially on October 14, the day CWG 2010 comes to a close.

"We have adjusted our programme schedule, beginning it early in the day. We have shifted the band performances to early evening so that everyone can experience the festive feel. We have made arrangements so that revelries get over by ten," said PK Roy, secretary of Mayur Vihar Puja Committee.   A functional police chowki has been set up near the Kalkaji temple area where a Puja pandal has been set up. Tight security is in place keeping the closing ceremony in mind.  

"The Games are on the verge of completion, but the closing ceremony would clash badly with Saptami, when Puja actually begins. It's only after the religious rituals are over that people can find the time to get together and the bonding and camaraderie begins, but not anymore," said Saikat Ghosh, member of Kalkaji Durga Puja Committee.

In addition, Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) of CR Park have been asked to keep vigil. They have been told not to extend Puja programmes till late in the night.

"The Games this time, especially the closing ceremony have in a way encroached upon the celebrations of Puja. We wait the entire year for Durga Puja. It is supposed to be a great festive occasion. But time is not on our side," said S Bose, member of RWA, CR Park.

Money Wise

The ongoing mega sporting event has eaten into the budget of the corporates that they earmark for sponsorships to the major Puja pandals in the city every year. Several companies that used to provide the lion's share of the budgets of several pandals in the Chittaranjan Park area have given only a fraction of money of what they used to allocate. Heightened security has been deployed at most puja pandals with barricades to the entry, metal detectors and CCTV cameras.Irrespective of the security hassles this time owing to the Games, the preparations for the Puja are in full swing. The Puja Pandals of CR Park, Mayur Vihar, Mela Ground, Race Course and Kalkaji are
heavily decorated.

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