Kolkata: With the state government distributing footballs carrying logo of the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup to promote the event, Durga Puja organisers are taking up unique concepts to set up platforms in front of their Puja mandaps to display the footballs.
Mamata Banerjee government is giving two such footballs to each Durga Puja organiser. Officers-in-charge of police stations are distributing the footballs among the organisers.
According to an Inspector-in-Charge of a police station in Howrah, enthusiasm among Puja organisers was unexplainable. "They had started discussing among themselves in the police station itself soon after getting the footballs as to how they would decorate the platform where the footballs would be displayed in front of their Puja mandaps," the officer said adding that hardly there is any Puja organiser who is not giving special emphasis for the promotion of the Under-17 Football World Cup.
"Sentiment for football in Bengal is incomparable and this is a great opportunity to promote the game when the Under-17 Football World Cup is scheduled to happen just after the Puja. Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the state and there could be no better platform to promote the event," said Souvik Hazra, member of a Durga Puja organising committee.
As per the planning of some of the Puja organisers, there will be special lighting arrangements to illuminate the platform where the footballs will be kept. Some are even planning to set up revolving platform so that visitors at a Puja mandap get a different experience.
At the same time, the place will also be decorated with cut outs of the Under-17 World Cup mascot and the trophy.
Even some Puja organisers are also planning to organise some games in the day time to promote the World Cup in which visitors and the locals can easily take part.
The state government has distributed "Joyee" footballs among the Durga Puja organisers. The balls are being manufactured by the Refugee Handicrafts under the Micro, Small and Enterprises and Textiles department.
The state Youth Services and Sports department will also be distributing the same among educational institutions, local clubs and police lines. Each of the high schools, higher secondary schools, high madrasas and colleges will be getting five footballs each. Similarly, around 12,000 local clubs that received grants of the state government will also be getting five footballs each. Fifteen footballs will be given to each of the universities. It will be distributed in October during the Under-17 Football World Cup that is going to start on October 6. The state government is distributing more than 1 lakh such footballs keeping the Under-17 World Cup in mind.