As of the day after night restrictions during the Durga Puja festival were lifted by the West Bengal government. Visitors will not be permitted inside the Durga Puja pandals, as they will be treated as ‘containment zones’ by the Calcutta High Court.
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Passing a ruling on the PIL filed by Howrah resident Ajay Kumar Dey, urging the government to implement the restrictions imposed last year during Durga Puja to contain the spread of Covid-19. The visitors will not be allowed into the pandals in West Bengal as well, according to the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Kumar Bindal. The court’s last-year restrictions will also remain the same, he added.
The Advocate General, who appeared on behalf of the state, said the state government supports such restrictions if they are for the greater good of the people.
A division bench of the high court consisting of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee held a public interest hearing last year and decided not to allow visitors to the marquees.
For pandals small and large, the court has ordered barricades be erected five meters from the entrance, 10 meters from the entrance for the largest pandals.
It had said barricades should have no entry signs. As part of the court’s order, only 15 to 25 members of the organizing committees were permitted to enter the pandals.
According to the court, organizers also need to provide masks and sanitizers to the visitors, conduct awareness campaigns, and make continuous announcements to keep people informed about the disease.
During this year’s Durga Puja and Kali Puja celebration, all of these restrictions will still apply.
A total of 708 new infections of COVID-19 were reported in West Bengal on Friday, with 13 deaths.