With most of the people doing petty jobs in cities to run families back home, a pall of gloom has descended in cyclone-ravaged Sundarbans deltas before Durga puja.

Durga puja has been a low-key affair in the deltas this year after cyclone Aila destroyed the livelihood of the 4 million residents of Sundarbans deltas driving bread winners to cities.

Thousands of people, mostly working men, toiling as construction workers, gardeners or daily-wage labourers in the cities, are likely to miss puja festivities this year.

“The sadness that surrounds the day of Durga idol immersion is evident everywhere in Sundarbans before the pujas,” MP of Jaynagar Lok Sabha constituency in Sundarbans, Tarun Mondal told PTI.

“More than 40 per cent of residents have left their homes to work in Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is difficult for the near and dear ones to enjoy puja festivities without them,” says Mr. Mondal.

More than half the puja organisers in Sundarbans, where community pujas are held, have backed out due to lack of initiatives among the delta dwellers.

“Only 18 puja committees took permission to organise puja in Gosaba this year whereas 50 community pujas were held here last year,” says Block Development Officer (BDO) of Gosaba, Amiya Bhusan Chakraborty.