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Dark clouds threaten to spoil Diwali fervour

Kolkata: Moderate to heavy rain in the city and other parts of Gangetic Bengal that has been predicted by Alipore Meteorological Office may play a spoilsport in this year's Diwali, which coincides with Kali Puja in the state on Thursday.
The city is likely to be hit by moderate rain for two days till Saturday, the regional MeT office said here on Wednesday. The city received rainfall later in the evening.
The predictions, however, failed to dampen the spirit of the festival. Hundreds of people visited jewellery shops on Tuesday evening and bought gold and silver ornaments and artifact to celebrate Dhanteras. The shopping malls and markets were kept open till midnight on Tuesday to facilitate people to buy different items from electronic goods to sarees to western outfits. Beelines were seen in front of sweet shops. Balaram Mullick's mixed sweets are this year's hot favourite in Diwali and Kali Puja.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has lit up all the parks and squares along with important streets with coloured lights making the City of Joy look like a fairyland.
Vidyasagar Setu has also been brightly lit up with coloured lights forming long chains. In New Town, the miniatures of Seven Wonders of the World have been illuminated as well.
Thousands visited the Bazi Bazar to make last-minute purchases. This year, people were found more interested in buying hot air balloons and other items that do not make sound. There was a huge rush to buy earthen lamps but not the Chinese ones. NGOs looking after animal welfare have requested people not to throw bombs at them. Many of them have distributed pamphlets containing dos and don'ts that are required to be followed for the well being of animals.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged people not to get swayed by rumours that have been deliberately circulated by a section of people with vested interests to destabilise society. While inaugurating a number of Kali Puja pandals in the city on Tuesday she had cautioned people against those "who are planning to throw pork in mosques and beef in temples to create disturbance."
Banerjee organises Kali Puja at her Harish Chatterjee Street residence for many years. Apart from front-ranking leaders of the Trinamool Congress, senior state government and police officials and important persons visit her residence. She also observes fast and offers pushpanjali to goddess Kali every year.
Dakshineshwar temple has been brightly illuminated where thousands of devotees will gather on Thursday to offer prayers. Devotees will visit Kalighat temple and Thanthania Kali Bari.
CESC has made special arrangements to ensure trouble-free Diwali and Kali Puja. The number of applications for special CESC connection to respective pandals has crossed 2,590. A CESC spokesman said on Wednesday that the number this year is higher compared to last year. Special connections during Durga Puja this year was 4,165.
According to the CESC spokesman, the number of Kali Pujas in Kolkata is more than Durga Pujas. Many Kali Puja pandals are smaller and quite often the devotees manage without a special connection. Moreover, there are innumerable family pujas. CESC, however, has already issued a notification stating that it is ready to meet any surge in demand.
Fire Brigades, disaster management teams have been kept on alert. Because of constant vigil by the Fire and Emergency Services department, fire due to electrical short circuits has become a matter of the past.
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