Calcutta HC partially eases 'no-entry' order on Durga puja pandals, to allow 60 organisers at a time
Maintaining that no visitors will not be allowed inside pandals, the court also said that dhakis (traditional drummers) will be allowed in a 'limited number', just outside the no-entry zone
Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday partly modified its order on community Durga Pujas, allowing drummers to perform within the no-entry zones of the marquees and raising the number of people who can be present there for big pujas from 25 to 60.
Hearing an appeal submitted by Forum for Durgotsab, a division bench of the high court comprising Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee, retained its earlier order declaring all Durga Puja marquees no-entry zones and erecting
barricades in front of the pandals to prevent visitors from entering inside in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Counsel for the forum submitted before the court that as Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the Bengalis and lot of emotions are attached to it, the number of people who can enter the marquees be increased for offering anjali and also during sandhi puja.
The bench ordered that the number of people who can stay inside the marquees be increased from 25 to 60 for big Pujas but retained it at 15 for the small ones.
The court allowed dhakis (drummers), an integral part of the celebrations, to stay within the no-entry zones of the marquees but they will have to maintain all safety and hygiene protocols.
The list of 60 people who can stay inside the pandals for big pujas will have to be put up daily, the court said.
The court also said a maximum of 45 people can be present inside the marquees at a time.
For smaller pujas, the maximum number of people who can stay inside the pandals at a time is 10, the court said.
The court had on Monday declared all pandals across West Bengal no-entry zones to prevent the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state.
The division bench had also ordered that no visitors would be allowed to enter the marquees.
The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been below 20,000 for 38 straight days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 141 consecutive days now
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This year, however, the five-day exhibition is expected to be more muted than in the past due to the subdued state of flying and travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.