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Come appreciate the artistry of our finest idol-makers: Mamata

Kolkata: The stage is all set for the grand extravaganza —the Durga Puja Carnival at Red Road that will be held on Tuesday evening when idols of Maa Durga and her entourage will be passing one after the other on decorated tableaus amid beats of dhak. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, senior officials of the state government along with foreign diplomats and Consul Generals of a number of countries are expected to grace the event that will start at 4.30 pm.

"Join me tomorrow at the grand Bishorjon Carnival on Red Road. Enjoy this unique pujo carnival as award-winning Durga Pujas of #Kolkata are taken for immersion. Watch it live on my Facebook Page on Tuesday Oct 23 from 4:15 PM onwards," Banerjee tweeted.

The carnival has become part of the festivity for the past couple of years.

The extravaganza, in its third year, is one-of-its-kind in the country and has already taken the shape of a global phenomenon attracting tourists from all over the world. For the first time this year, the mega event will be aired on National Geographic Channel providing a splendid opportunity for one and all to witness the Carnival.

It may be mentioned that the Durga Puja of Ballygunge Cultural has already gone global after being projected by Facebook through live streaming and recordings during the Puja.

This year, 75 Durga Puja committees will be participating in the Carnival and seating arrangements have been made for 14,500 people on either side of Red Road. The main podium resembles the Thakurdalan of a Rajbari.

"We had started preparations way ahead of the Durga Puja to ensure the presence of more and more foreign delegates to witness the grand event," said Atri Bhattacharya, state Home Secretary who also holds the charge of Principal Secretary of Tourism department.

A senior official of the Tourism department added that apart from Consul Generals and foreign embassies, invitations have been extended to as many as 2,000 foreign delegates for attending the Carnival. "We have approached a number of hotels from three-star to seven-star categories and educational institutions including private ones to woo our foreign visitors," a senior official said.

There will be elaborate security arrangements by Kolkata Police including as many as six watchtowers, a number of CCTVs and supervision through drones. Senior officials will be on duty and officers of Assistant Commissioner levels will be present at the South Gate of Fort William from where the procession of the idols are expected to start their march. More than 3,000 cops will be on duty in and around the venue for proper crowd management. There will be giant screens at a number of places in and around Red Road for catching the event live.

The Puja committees will decorate their tableaus as per the theme of their pandals. A maximum of 60 persons per committee can take part in the march and a maximum of four trucks will be permitted. Each organiser will have 40 seconds to perform in front of the main podium where the Chief Minister will be present along with the foreign delegates. A team from ISKCON will be performing to a song that has been written and composed by the Chief Minister.

The traffic wing of the Kolkata Police will be closing Kidderpore Road from Hastings Crossing to Lovers Lane for vehicular traffic from 2 pm till the programme ends on Tuesday.

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