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CM to inaugurate Durga Pujas virtually from October 15

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee painting the eye of goddess Durga at the inauguration of a puja in Kolkata.   | Photo Credit: D CHAKRABORTY.

Ahead of the Durga Puja festival, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday urged people to exercise extreme caution for COVID-19 as she reiterated that community spread of the infection had begun in the State. She said there were instances of the infection being airborne.

“Whether one accepts it or not the infections are also airborne,” Ms. Banerjee told journalists. She said Delhi has allowed only one puja at Chittaranjan Park and Uttar Pradesh has not allowed a single Durga Puja, in West Bengal her government had not stopped any Durga Puja.

The Chief Minister asked the puja committees not to allow people without masks inside the pandals, stay away from organising cultural programmes and take all steps to prevent overcrowding. “Let the theme for Durga Puja this year be adherence to COVID protocol,” she said. Ms. Banerjee urged television channels to highlight Pujas that were maintaining the COVID protocol.

During the day, the Chief Minister inaugurated the special Puja edition of the Trinamool Congress mouthpiece Jaago Bangla and a collection of seven songs “Sristhi,” whose lyrics had been penned by her. She also inaugurated Durga Puja at Chelta Agrani club in south Kolkata. Ms. Banerjee was seen painting the eye of the Goddess.

This year, the Chief Minister will inaugurate Durga Pujas virtually from October 15 to 17. Clubs which want her to inaugurate their pujas will have to write to the Chief Minister’s Office. The State government has decided to give ₹50,000 to 37,000 clubs that organise community Durga Pujas in the State.

Controlling pandemic

Meanwhile, the State government announced a number of measures to contain the pandemic. Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said the price for COVID-19 test in private laboratories would be reduced to ₹1500 from ₹ 2250. The government would increase 600 ICU beds in State-run hospitals and about 2,500 nurses would be recruited. Mr. Bandyopadhyay said the government was also trying to bring down the ambulance cost for private health facilities.

The State government would set up a 24X7 helpline for emergencies during the Puja and the leave of all employees engaged in essential services remained cancelled.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 8:49:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cm-to-inaugurate-durga-pujas-virtually-from-october-15/article32838356.ece

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