Going by reports from Jadavpur University experts and an internal survey conducted by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, it was announced by Mayor Firhad Hakim that it would not be safe to organise the popular Mohammad Ali Park Durga Puja in the same location this year, as reported by the Times of India.
So, following this announcement, it was decided that this year, the committee puja would be relocated to its first home, a fire station, after nearly 50 years.
“We decided to shift the Puja to the adjacent fire station, keeping the safety of people in mind. Thousands visit the Puja every year. Experts suggested that we shift the Puja out of the park as the surface was not strong enough to take so much load,” said Pramod Chandak, working president of the association.
In the sprawling courtyard at the rear of one of the oldest fire stations in the city, labourers have set up the structure for a grand pandal. Defunct fire tenders and other scrap material have been shifted to the godown to make way for it.
According to senior members of the Puja organizing committee as told to TOI, the Puja had originally started at the fire station and was later shifted to the park when it grew in stature and popularity.
A senior fire department officer said, “We have moved the old fire tenders and scrap material stored at the rear part of the fire station to other stations and our godown. During the Puja, fire tenders will be parked outside for smooth circulation of people visiting the pandal.”
The organisers are determined that the change of location will, in no way, affect the fervour and grandeur of the puja. The accompanying carnival with the Puja, which draws thousands every day, will also be held. “The carnival is an integral part of our Puja and it will be organized this year too. But since we cannot hold it inside the park, we will organize it outside,” said Chandak.