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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], September 7 (ANI): Setting the pitch for the upcoming Durga Puja, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday recited Chandi Path and urged the puja committees in the state to celebrate the festival with the COVID protocols.
Banerjee attended a meeting over the Durga Puja festival with police officials, municipal officials, puja committees and organisers at Netaji Indoor Stadium.
Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said, "The Durga Puja can be celebrated following the COVID protocols. There are around 36,000 pujas organised in the state including 2,500 big pujas in Kolkata. There are around 1,500 Mahila puja committees. There are also pujas in the housing societies. We are not imposing any fresh rules. The guidelines are similar to last year."
She urged the puja committees to run awareness campaigns regarding COVID-19 and be equipped with masks and sanitisers.
The chief minister said that the state government requested United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to recognize Durga Puja as "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".
"A survey said that the Durga Puja in West Bengal holds an economy of over Rs 32,000 crore. I believe it is the biggest festival in the world. We already have requested UNESCO to recognize Durga Puja as "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity'," she stated.
Asked about the practice of night pandal hopping by visitors, the chief minister said a decision in this regard will be taken later keeping the COVID situation in mind.
Reciting Chandi Path, Banerjee said, "Today the bugle of Durga puja has been sounded. I urge you all to celebrate the festival peacefully."
The West Bengal government announced that Rs 50,000 financial assistance will be granted to every puja committee.
This year, Durga Puja will commence on October 11 and extend till October 15. (ANI)