Kolkata: A special sanitiser foot mat and a hand sanitiser kiosk fitted with sensors and antimicrobial film protection have been installed at Bhawanipur 75 Pally Durga Puja pandal (marquee) to keep visitors safe during the puja.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the puja on Sunday (October 18).

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The organisers said, “Around Rs 50,000 was spent to procure and install these two equipment to ensure all Covid-19 safety norms are followed. Circles have been drawn till 500 meters on the road leading to the pandal to help people maintain social distancing. Only 15 people would be allowed to enter the pandal at a go.”

Bhawanipur 75 Pally will also livestream the puja on their Facebook page. The organisers said cooks hired to prepare “bhog [food offered to the deities]” had been tested for Covid-19.

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This year, the puja’s theme is “Maa [mother]”. While last year, their budget was Rs 40 lakh, it has been scaled down to Rs 10 lakh this year. Despite the limited resources, the organisers worked around the restrictions to use props such as fish nets and threads in a specific pattern to depict the current situation of people and society as a whole.

Puja’s secretary Subir Das said, “We have a specially placed foot mat that will sanitise every single person stepping inside the pandal premises. Also, we have placed a sensor-based sanitising machine. It is a technologically advanced instrument where you place your hand and it is sanitised after a light is illuminated.”