Calcutta HC seeks response from West Bengal government on Durga Puja dole

October 16, 2020 12:04 am | Updated 04:04 am IST - kolkata

A view of the Calcutta High Court in Kolkata. File

A view of the Calcutta High Court in Kolkata. File

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday sought to know from the West Bengal government reasons for allocating ₹50,000 to thousands of puja committees for organising Durga Puja in the State. A Division Bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee also enquired whether the State government has given similar financial aid for other festivals like Eid.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Sourav Dutta, a Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader, challenging relaxations for the puja committees and the ₹50,000 each aid to the 37,000 Durga Puja clubs in the State.

The court also sought to know whether the State has laid down guideline for such expenditure. The State government replied that the grant was meant for raising public awareness on COVID-19 control, purchase of sanitisers and masks. The matter will be heard again on Friday. The Calcutta High Court will also hear another petition demanding deferment of Durga Puja celebrations in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2018 Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced ₹10,000 for Durga Puja clubs, which was increased to ₹25,000 in 2019 and ₹50,000 in 2020. This was challenged in Calcutta High Court in 2018 which had refused to intervene in the matter.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued her spree of virtual inauguration of Durga Pujas during the day. Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said the government and the Durga Puja clubs are sensitive about the pandemic and have taken adequate steps to ensure that the celebration should not lead to spread of COVID-19 infection.

Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma visited a number of Durga Puja pandals on Thursday to check the arrangements.

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