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Puja organisers scurry to set up pandals before rain sets its foot in

BALURGHAT: Amid predictions of sporadic showers by the local meteorological department during four days of Durga Puja to be kicked start on Friday, the organisers are now busy to complete the rest of work for inauguration in Panchami.

Almost all the big-budget Puja organisers in Balurghat have forced to prepare makeshift shades for devotees in or outside the pandals for any emergency.

"Local Met officials have predicted mild showers during Puja days and that is why we are thinking how to tackle the situation. A temporary shade has been prepared with tarpaulin sheets so that the idols can be saved from rain. The devotees may also take shelter under the temporary roofs," said Gopal Bhattacharjee, a big-budget puja organiser of Kochikala Academy.

Puja organisers are not ready to mar this part of the revelry. "The nagging rain for over a week has hampered our preparations adversely. Since Tuesday afternoon the weather is slightly improved but there is every possibility of rainfall during Puja days and we don't want to take risk. We have kept adequate space inside the pandal to accommodate devotees. The entry and exit gates are extra wide for air circulations," said an organiser of Avijatri Club, Sanat Mohanta.

Apart from the Puja organisers, both district administration and police have made elaborate arrangements already for the grand success of the upcoming festive season.

It is learnt from a police source that in order to stop the use of high-sound producing music system and fire crackers during the Puja days, the police have decided to take steps if organizers are found violating rules provided by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB).

The Puja committees in their agreement part have mentioned that they are ready to abide by general norms strictly for not using powerful sound system and sound producing crackers near their puja pandals.

Recently, a meeting conducted among senior

administrative officials along with the concerned officials of WBPCB, police, Balurghat municipality and fire services officials in which it was decided that police would conduct a joint inspection to the big Pujas of the town to look into whether the guidelines are followed.

"The joint inspection started at least a week before the Puja days while at the same time, the police would not allow to hold the Pujas if we receive any complaint against the puja organisers for forcefully collecting subscriptions. We have also asked them to follow all the guidelines including the decibel of the sound system," said district police chief Prasun Banerjee adding that the department would also reward the puja organisers if following all the guidelines specifically.

The police and local administration have taken unanimous decision that there will be no restriction on four-wheelers and motorbikes during the four days of Durga puja in Balurghat.

"We have stressed on best possible security arrangement for the people of Balurghat so that thousands of pandal hoppers do not face any trouble while ushering the festive spirit. Apart from this, we are using drone-camera for the first-time for security reasons. Six such cameras will be installed for keeping close watch and immediate intervention," said a police officer.

According to a police source, adequate number of police pickets has also been put in place near Durga puja pandals across the town besides police assistance booths have been set up in case anyone wants to know the route or seek any other help.

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