A day after Calcutta High Court ordered that the "Durga puja pandals will be no-entry zones for visitors" in view of the Coronavirus outbreak, the 'Forum for Durgotsab', a body of all Durga Pujas in West Bengal decided to file a review petition in the matter.
The body said that it will be difficult to follow the norms ordered by the high court.
"This is a huge setback for us. For four months, we have been working at making things safe for visitors. We had made masks mandatory, sanitising gates were in place, we bought machines for thermal screening. Our exit gates were bigger than entry gates. But now... the rule about barricade 10 metres before the pandal, how will the crowds disperse? There will be more chaos," Saswat Bose, chief of the forum, said, expressing shock over the court's order on Monday, October 20.
"Yes, we are going to file a review petition today at the Calcutta High Court. We felt that it would be difficult for us to follow the guidelines on setting up the barricades with 5 meters for small pandals and 10 meters for big pandals conditions," Saswata Basu, General Secretary of the 'Forum for Durgotsab', said.
"There are puja pandals where space is less, while in some areas the lane is narrow. So, it will be extremely difficult to follow the norms. If we follow the 5 meters and 10 meters norms when it will be difficult for us to manage the crowd through the entry and exit points (located beyond the Court's distance norms). Not the least. We have other concerns too and we hope that the Calcutta High Court will listen to our pleas," he added.
The decision by the body comes soon after the Calcutta High Court on October 19 ordered the puja organisers to barricade entrances of pandals.
The High Court said that "an area with a radius of 5 meters for small pandals and 10 meters for big pandals will be restricted for revellers."
Expressing concerns that overcrowding during the festive season could lead to an "uncontrollable" rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Calcutta High Court said that Durga Puja pandals in West Bengal will be out of bounds for the visitors "in public interest".
The Court, however, permitted only 25 people or committee members inside the big pandals and 15 for the smaller ones in view of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Court's order came after it said that there are not enough policemen in Kolkata to man crowds at the 3000-plus pandals in the city.