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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

Ahead of polls, Mamata bonds with Biharis

Sandip Chowdhury , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, November 07, 2013
First Published: 10:11 IST(7/11/2013) | Last Updated: 10:15 IST(7/11/2013)

The 2014 Lok Sabha polls would make or mar Mamata Banerjee’s role in national politics.

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And to ensure success, the chief minister and her men at Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) are going all out to do their bit to keep Bihari voters happy this Chhat Puja.

KMC will put up 12 big decorative welcome gates at 12 different ghats on the river Hooghly to usher in the festive mood while devotees gather at these ghats for Surya Pranam on the occasion of Chhat Puja.

“This is our first-ever initiative to decorate the ghats with big welcome gates to celebrate Chhat Puja this year. There are lakhs of Biharis who gather at different ghats on river Hooghly on the occasion, which too should be celebrated with grandeur,” Debashis Kumar, member, mayor-in-council (parks & squares), told HT.

Apart from decorating the ghats for the Puja which will be celebrated on November 8 evening and November 9 morning with Surya Pranam, different director generals of KMC would be put on their toes to supervise the arrangements.

According to KMC officials attached with the job of decorating the ghats on river Hooghly, 12 big decorative welcome gates would be put on ghats including the ones at Bajekadamtala, Judge’s, Rani Rashmoni, Doi, Nimtala, Bagbazar, Sarvamangala, etc.

The KMC municipal secretary department had been assigned to put up these big gates and decorate them with lights to usher in the festive mood amongst Biharis in Kolkata.

Mamata had also asked both KMC and Kolkata Police to make good arrangements of adequate security personnel.

Thousands of civic volunteers and policemen would be put on duty to guard the ghats and ensure a smooth Surya Pranam.

“Unlike in Durga, Laxmi and specially Kali Puja immersions, there are hardly any incident of accidents during Chhat Puja.

Biharis are very systematic and only the elderly men, one from each family actually take a dip in the river Hooghly on behalf of the family,” a source at KMC told HT.

Unwilling to disclose the numbers of Biharis coming to the different ghats on river Hooghly to do Surya Pranam, KMC and Kolkata Police say it would cross over one-two lakh.

As part of police arrangements, the route for devotees coming to Bajekadamtala ghat would be changed to ensure no clashes take place with cricket-loving Bengalis watching Sachin’s 199th Test match at Eden Gardens.

“Out of the five terminal parking space for the cars carrying Bihari devotees to ghats on the river Hooghly, one would be shifted to avoid any chaos. King’s Way would be restricted following Sachin’s match at Eden Gardens,” a source at KMC said.

KMC’s solid waste management department and 100 days’ job guarantee labourers are working on a war footing to clear the ghats post-Kali Puja immersion that got over on November 5.

“Our men are at work to ensure complete cleaning of the ghats and preparing it for the occasion of Chhat Puja,” Debabrata Majumder, member, mayor-in-council (solid waste management), told HT.


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