A taste of Bengal for Durga’s devotees | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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A taste of Bengal for Durga’s devotees

With one hand tucked into a bowl of fresh mochar chops (banana flower cutlets) and the other balancing a plate of egg rolls, Amey Poddar, 12, gorged on traditional Bengali dishes at the Bengal Club Durga Puja pandal in Shivaji Park on Monday.

mumbai Updated: Oct 04, 2011 02:19 IST
Reetika Subramanian

With one hand tucked into a bowl of fresh mochar chops (banana flower cutlets) and the other balancing a plate of egg rolls, Amey Poddar, 12, gorged on traditional Bengali dishes at the Bengal Club Durga Puja pandal in Shivaji Park on Monday.

“The food is absolutely delicious. My mother has closed the kitchen for the next four days till the puja ends,” said Poddar, a Class 6 student, whose mother did not refuse when her son asked her for an extra Rs10 to buy a plate of rasgullas from one of the food stalls.

“The food is cooked by caterers who have come down from Kolkata for the festival. The kitchens are hygienic and the food authentic and tasty. We are assured of quality and taste,” said Priyal Poddar, 36, Amey’s mother.

At most Durga Puja pandals, organisers have called professional caterers from West Bengal to set up stalls and let the city savour the taste of authentic Bengali food.

While the bhog (community lunch) comprising khichdi, fried potato, mixed vegetable and a sweet dish will be provided free to anyone visiting the pandal as prasad, there are stalls selling traditional dishes such as kosha mangsho (mutton curry), rui kaliya (fish curry), mutton chops, Mughlai parathas and sandesh.

“When it comes to Durga Puja, nobody really takes note of the expenses incurred. It is only once a year that Bengalis get to binge on high calorie-rich food,” said Tanmoy Mukhopadhyay, organiser, Milantirtha Durga Puja, Panvel.

At some pandals, caterers have brought cartons of spices and vegetables from Bengal to ensure an authentic taste.

“We placed an order almost six months ago with caterers in Bengal. We decided the special dishes to be sold at the stalls this year after an exclusive sampling session. Fish continues to dominate the scene,” said Saurabh Mitra, organiser of the Powai Bengali Welfare Association (PBWA) Durga puja.

The Powai pandal spent Rs17 lakh on the food this year, compared to Rs13 lakh last year.

“Inflation has played spoil-sport this year, but we decided to raise our overall budget instead of compromising on the food,” added Mitra.


HC restrains BMC from pulling down Bengal Club’s pandal

HT Correspondent
htmetro@hindustantimes.com
mumbai: Barely hours after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) threatened to put a spanner in the Durga Puja celebrations at Shivaji Park, the Bombay high court on Monday restrained the civic body from taking any coercive steps.

A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi has granted the Bengal Club, which organises the annual Durga Puja at Shivaji Park, protection till Wednesday when its plea will come up for further hearing.

The club had moved the high court after the civic body issued a notice asking it to remove pandals at Shivaji Park within 24 hours. Its counsel, Mamta Sadh, pointed out that the city civil court had on September 12 granted the club permission to hold the Durga Puja this year.

Wecome Trust, an NGO which had filed a PIL on which the high court had directed the BMC to declare Shivaji Park a silence zone, had challenged the September 12 order before a bench of justice RM Borde of the high court, and pointed out various restraining orders passed on its PIL.

Justice Borde had given the club time till Monday to obtain appropriate permission from the division bench hearing the PIL. Advocate A Roy, representing the club, said the civic body took advantage of the situation and on Monday issued a notice requiring it to remove the pandals put up for Durga Puja within 24 hours.

Roy said the Bengal Club had tenancy rights over 14,080 square yards of Shivaji Park and therefore had moved the city civil court seeking a declaration that it could perform the annual Durga Puja, as has been done on a regular basis since 1968. The club, however, is required to seek permission from the civic body for putting up pandals for the annual celebrations.

In May 2010, the high court had ruled that the park be classified a silence zone and had asked the BMC to set aside 30 days in the year for non-sporting activities there.

In view of the high court order, the BMC had rejected an application made by the club in June 2011 for the eight-day celebrations this year.