The Calcutta High Court has declared that all Durga Puja pandals in West Bengal will be no-entry zones in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In its ruling, the high court said that only organizers can enter the pandals and that names of people allowed to enter the pandals should be displayed outside.
The court said all pandals will have to erect barricades at their entrance -- the distance is five meters for small pandals and double that for the big ones.
The HC also asked each puja committee to submit a blueprint on crowd management. There are over 37,000 puja committees in West Bengal, including 3000 in Kolkata.
The court was of the view that there were not enough policemen in Kolkata and in the districts to manage the crowd during puja.
As fear of surge in COVID-19 numbers grows amid preparations for Durga puja, several pandal committees have made arrangements for virtual 'darshan' this time, while barring the physical entry of visitors.
The verdict comes as blow for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had recently announcing that people can start visiting marquees from 'Tritiya' -- three days before the puja rituals begin -- to avoid crowding to an extent.
Night-long pandal-hopping was set to begin in the city and elsewhere in the state from Monday
Last Updated 19, Oct 2020, 6:23 PM