Central Kolkata organisers to give Puja a miss

KOLKATA: The organisers of the in where three people were during the immersion last year have decided to give the festival a miss this year so that the sentiments of the relatives of those who died are not hurt.
The civic authorities also conducted a meeting with other in and around Janbazar at the preparation stage and instructed them to restrict the height of the Ganesh idols to 12 feet and not to obstruct the carriageway.

Last year, three people who were part of the immersion procession of a 25-feet tall Ganesh idol were electrocuted at Bajekadamtala Ghat near Eden Gardens station after getting entangled in a high-voltage overhead railway cabal. The idol of the Shree Shree Ganesh Puja Utsab Committee at Janbazar’s Uma Das Lane was even higher than the 15-feet height restriction for Durga and Kali idols laid down by Kolkata Police.

“We did not find it appropriate to organise the puja this year which could have hurt the sentiments of the relatives of those who died last year,” said Kunal Shaw, a member of the Shree Shree Ganesh Puja Utsab Committee.

Bimal Sahni, 38, and Jitender Sahni, 28, both residents of Uma Das Lane were with other revellers in the immersion procession while Bapi Mondal was a porter. The Janbazar Ganesh puja is more than seven years old and one of the oldest in the vicinity. In recent years several other Ganesh Pujas have started taking place in the locality.

Councillor of ward 52 where Uma Das Lane is located said after the lessons learnt from last year’s tragedy, he along with the police held meetings with other Ganesh Puja organisers in his ward and requested them to restrict the height of the idol to 12 feet.

“We do not have any laid down guidelines for Ganesh Puja due to which some organisers go overboard with some aspects of the puja like the height of the idol and the size of the pandals. This year I held a meeting with all the organisers in my ward and requested them to restrict the height of the idol to 12 feet,” said Saha.

This year the cops have put up a 15 feet long height barrier to prevent any rerun of last year’s incident.

“Most Ganesh Pujas happen without any police permission. Unlike Durga Puja or Kali Puja we have no guidelines on how to conduct Ganesh Pujas. This is the reason we have put up the height barrier so that organisers bringing in very tall idols can be stopped before they reach the zone where high voltage cabals are,” said an officer.
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