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Puja at 'lack-lustre' Bowbazar pandal to be only ritualistic

Kolkata: It is that time of the year when every nook and corner of the city is decked up to celebrate the arrival of Goddess Durga at her home, but for many Bowbazar residents there is no festive joy as home remains out of bounds for them.

"There will be no cultural programmes or stage performances during Durga Puja this year. A small pandal, without any decoration, has been set up 15 metres away from the tram line. The idol will be brought to the pandal today. We have been conducting Durga Puja for the last 57 years. This is our 58th year," said Rajesh Gupta, member of Madhyam Kolkata Syakra Para Lane Yubak Samiti (Puja organising committee).

Last year, he reiterated that cultural programmes, blood donation camps and performances by children were held during Durga Puja.

While several houses at Durga Pithuri Lane and Syakra Para Lane have partially or wholly-collapsed, cracks developed in several houses situated at Gour De Lane.

"We are not celebrating Durga Puja this year because most of our neighbours are still not home and staying in hotels. They have not yet returned home. We will just perform the rituals before Maa Durga," said Somnath Banerjee, resident of 2 B, Gour De Lane, who shifted from hotel to his home on September 26.

The tunnelling disaster of East West Metro construction work led to collapse of six buildings in the locality. The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRCL), the implementing agency of East-West metro project, had formed a team to examine 70 buildings. It had submitted a report on 54 houses after the buildings in the area had developed structural damage following subsidence on August 31. Out of these 54 houses, 27 needed to be demolished.

"Our jewellery shop is at present under debris. We are suffering huge losses. We will pray to Maa Durga that our shop re-opens as soon as possible," said Bharat Soni, who owns a jewellery shop at Syakra Para Lane.

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