Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to inaugurate Durga puja pandals
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will begin inaugurating some of the Durga puja pandals in Kolkata from Wednesday with Mahalaya marking the beginning of the Durga puja festivities in the state.
A senior Trinamool Congress leader said the party supremo was expected to inaugurate around five big puja pandals in south Kolkata on Wednesday and over the next few days, she would be virtually inaugurating multiple puja pandals across the state.
“Some of these pujas are patronised by state ministers and senior TMC leaders. She would start with the puja pandal at Chetla Agrani in the afternoon, which is patronised by Firhad Hakim, a state minister. On Friday she is likely to inaugurate more puja pandals, including the one patronised by another state minister Sujit Bose in the northern fringes of the city,” said a TMC leader.
Banerjee is also likely to inaugurate a few other big puja pandals on Wednesday afternoon including those in Jodhpur Park, 95 Pally, Babubagan and Selimpur Pally.
“The auspicious occasion of Mahalaya marks the beginning of the much-awaited festive season. The countdown has begun! I extend my heartiest greetings and best wishes to all. Shubho Mahalaya!” Mamata Banerjee tweeted.
“Shubho Mahalaya! We bow to Maa Durga and seek her blessings for the well-being of our planet and the welfare of our citizens. May everyone be happy as well as healthy in the times to come,” Narendra Modi, Prime Minister tweeted.
In 2020, when the corona pandemic was raging, the chief minister had inaugurated more than 80 puja pandals including 69 virtual inaugurations.
Like last year, Durga puja celebrations will be muted this year too as the Calcutta high court has banned the entry of visitors inside puja pandals for the second consecutive year to check the spread of Covid-19.
The puja committees need to put up barricades - 10 metres away from the outer end of big pandals and five metres away from the outer end of smaller ones – to make pandals no-entry zones for visitors.
While at least 36,000 community pujas are held across the state, in Kolkata alone 2,500 community pujas are held by various clubs registered with the state government. This apart, there are pujas held in housing societies and residences. Around 1,500 pujas are organised by women only.
Durga puja is the biggest festival in West Bengal. Even though the five-day-long Durga Puja starts this year from October 11, the festivity has started much earlier. The immersion process will start on October 15 and continue till 17. The state government has cancelled the puja carnival during the immersion.