Inflation demon fails to scare puja committees in Jharkhand

  • Sanjoy Dey, Hindustan Times, Ranchi
  • Updated: Oct 17, 2015 22:16 IST
An artist gives the finishing touches at a pandal in Ranchi on Saturday. (Parwaz Khan/ HT Photo)

Inflation has upset household budget across the country but it fails to pinch the puja committees in the state which together plan to spend Rs 25 crore during the four-day Durga Puja, according organisers.

The three major cities of the state -Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad will have over 500 puja pandals, with 40 of them crossing Rs 15 lakh budget each, organisers said.

Ranchi-ites will see more than 115 puja pandals this year, while the number of pandals was nearly 100 last year. The city committees have raised their puja budgets to make the festival more lavish and extravagant, with five major committees spending Rs 22 lakh on pandal, idol and lightings this year.

Bharatiya Yuvak Sangh (BYS), Bakri Bazaar in Ranchi, has the highest puja budget so far.

“Our budget will cross Rs 35 lakh mark this year, which was Rs 29 lakh last year,” BYS spokesperson Rahul Agarwal said. The committee’s pandal theme is fusion of Egyptian building and Ramayana.

Agarwal said, “Puja budget has increased only because of the inflation. Now, labour cost, lightning cost and other materials have escalated manifold. To maintain the reputation of the puja here, we have to make extra effort to generate revenue from various sources.”

Ranchi’s major lightning attraction is the pandal of Kokar Durga Puja Samiti (KDPS). The committee’s puja budget is Rs 22 lakh, of which it will spend Rs 11 lakh only on lightning.

“If the cost of all commodities has gone manifold, people’s enthusiasm has also increased. So, common people donate generously to keep the fame of the area intact,” KDPS president Chanchal Chatterjee said.

Over 300 puja pandals are coming up in Jamshedpur with an average cost of Rs 5-10 lakh. However, the two major puja committees Jairam Youth Sporting Club, Adityapur and Thakur Pyara Singh, Kashidih are spending between Rs 25 and Rs 30 lakh. Similarly, Dhanbad will see 105 Durga puja pandals at average budget of Rs 10-15 lakh.

However, high puja budget have put the common man in trouble, as most of the committees have doubled their donation amount.

“Earlier, I used to donate Rs 101. But, committee members are not ready to take less than Rs 150 on pretext of rising prices of pandal materials, labour cost and others,” Anjana Dutta, a Harmu resident said. She said that her kitchen budget was already disturbed with Rs 50 a kg onion and Rs 170 a kg pulses.

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