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Calcutta HC Partially Eases ‘No Entry’ Order on Durga Puja Pandals But Dismisses Review Petition

People wearing PPE sanitise a pandal ahead of Durga Puja in Kolkata. (Reuters)

People wearing PPE sanitise a pandal ahead of Durga Puja in Kolkata. (Reuters)

The Calcutta High Court has allowed the assembly of 60 organisers inside big pandals with only 45 allowed to be present at any given time. For the small pandals, it said 30 organisers are allowed inside, with not more than 15 being present at any given time.

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday partially eased its earlier order declaring Durga Puja pandals as no-entry zones for the public to check the spread of Covid-19 during the festive season.

The court dismissed a review petition on its previous order by puja organisers, but allowed assembly of 60 organisers inside big pandals with only 45 allowed to be present at any given time. For the small pandals, it said 30 organisers are allowed inside, with not more than 15 being present at any given time.

Pandals that cover an area of 300 square metre or more will be classified as ‘big’, while those covering an area less than that will be considered ‘small’.

The court added that a list of such organisers will have to be displayed outside pandals by 8 am everyday on puja days, and the list can be changed keeping the occupancy limit in mind. The HC also upheld its ban on assembly of people inside pandals for rituals like Pushpanjali and Sindoor Khela.

The review petition had been filed by the Forum for Durgotsav, an umbrella organization of around 400 puja committees in Kolkata.

Performers like the dhakis are allowed but must maintain social distances norms with face masks, gloves and sanitisers.


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