Santosh Mitra Square, one of the oldest and popular Durga Puja clubs in Kolkata, has decided to restrict its Durga Puja celebrations to only selective members and will go virtual for the rest citing COVID-19 outbreak.

Santosh Mitra Square Durga Puja pandal is one of the most popular pandal in the city which draws lakhs of visitors every day during the festival.

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The organisers have also decided to limit the number of visitors. Residents of the area are only allowed inside the pandal premises. They are required to carry their identity cards so that organisers can ascertain their addresses.

This year the 12-foot pandal, one of the oldest in Kolkata, is themed on the Badrinath temple and designed by artist Mintu Pal.

A member of the puja committee said, “We regret on taking this tough decision but human lives cannot be compromised for a festival. Taking such an unprecedented decision can financially impact the Puja Committee as sponsors could pull out since the pandal will not have any visitors this year.”

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Last year, the Santosh Mitra Square pandal had placed a Durga idol weighing 50 kg of gold.

In less than a week, West Bengal will be celebrating Durga Puja amidst the rising cases of COVID-19 in the state. The government has issued guidelines to the committees to ensure maximum safety. West Bengal Police and Kolkata Police officials have been inspecting and holding meetings with Puja committees to ensure all the norms are being strictly followed.