Kolkata is all set to bid adieu to the goddess in style with a grand Durga Puja carnival on Saturday, which will see over 100 clubs take part in a procession on Red Road before the idols are immersed.
Conceptualised by Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the idea behind the parade was to showcase the state’s creativity and culture before an international audience. The Covid-19 pandemic had brought the carnival to a halt for two years but this time, with UNESCO recognising Durga Puja in its Representation List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the celebrations are bound to be on a massive scale.
Foreign guests and consulates of other countries have been invited to the parade. Noted Odissi dancer and Sourav Ganguly’s wife Dona Ganguly’s dance school will perform at Red Road. Dona herself was supposed to be a part of the celebrations but her performance was put on hold after she was diagnosed with Chikungunya.
Sources told CNN-News18 that Sourav Ganguly would be present at the carnival along with Mamata Banerjee and her entire cabinet.
Sujit Basu, minister and organiser of the famous pujo Sreebhumi in Kolkata, said: “Durga Puja is a festival of religion, creativity and culture. Mamata Banerjee initiated this superb concept where all Durga idols will march on Red Road and then directly go to the immersion ghat. This year, UNESCO heritage status is attached to Durga Puja so the carnival will be grand.”
Kolkata Police has beefed up its arrangements after meeting pandal authorities and special guidelines have been formulated for clubs. No crackers are allowed during immersion and after the Jalpaiguri incident, in which eight people lost their lives during immersion after sudden flash floods swept them away, the administration is on high alert.
The revelry, however, has not gone down well with all, especially in light of the Jalpaiguri deaths. BJP spokesman Samik Bhattacharya said: “Eight people died but instead of working on the loopholes, the administration is busy celebrating a carnival.”
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