Over 2,400 community pujas were organised this year; steps taken to prevent pollution in Hooghly

The four-day Durga Puja concluded here on Wednesday with Bijoy Dashami being observed and idols of the goddess immersed in river Hooghly that meanders past the city flanks.

There were elaborate security arrangements by the police along the river’s banks, where hundreds gathered. The civic authorities also took measures to ensure that the immersion ceremonies passed off smoothly and the waters protected from pollution.

Though many of the idols brought from the various pandals and homes were immersed in the evening there will be similar ceremonies on the river banks for the remaining idols on Thursday and Saturday – the other two days the police have scheduled for the purpose.

Over 2,400 community pujas were organised in the city this year, a senior police official said.

“We have made arrangements for the immersion of idols at 13 river ghats. Over 200 volunteers have been engaged by the civic body at the various locations,” Debasish Kumar, a member, Mayor-In-Council of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation told The Hindu.

Cranes have been positioned at certain ghats to pull out the debris of idols from the river to avoid pollution. Additional lights have been put up.

Various items that adorned the idols were being dumped in separate vats, he said.

In an attempt to prevent pollution caused by paint containing lead, the West Bengal Pollution Control Board distributed 1,200 litres of lead-free paints to idol makers this year.

Closed-circuit television cameras have been installed at certain ghats as part of security arrangements, a senior police officer said.

A series of rituals were observed at pandals before the idols were taken out in procession along the roads of the city for immersion. Sindur Khela, where married women smeared vermillion on the forehead of the goddess and then on each other’s faces, was observed amid the beating of drums.

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