Home / News / India /  Durga Puja organisers need to spend 75% of 50,000 grant on COVID-19 equipment: Calcutta HC

The Calcutta High Court on Friday said that Durga Puja organisers in West Bengal have to spend 75% of the state government's 50,000 grant for procuring coronavirus protection equipment. The rest of the grant should be used for strengthening public-police bonding.

A division bench comprising justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee directed that the grant provided by the Mamata Banerjee government to the Durga Puja committees cannot be used for any other purpose. The funds have to be utilised for purchase sanitisers, masks and face shields. The purchase bills have to be submitted to the authorities for audit, the high court stated.

The court said that bills of such procurement should be submitted to the authorities in respective districts for auditing and a report will have to be submitted by the state government before the court after the Durga Puja vacation, when the matter would be taken up for hearing again.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee earlier announced 50,000 grant for each of the 36,946 Durga Puja committees in the state. "Due to the COVID pandemic, it has been a tough time for all of us. We have decided to provide 50,000 grant to each of the Durga Puja committees," she mentioned.

The court also directed that 25% of the 50,000 grant will be used for strengthening public-police bonding and inclusion of more women in community policing. The court also said that the interim order should be distributed to all Durga Puja committees through leaflets. An affidavit will have to be submitted by the state authorities on compliance, the court stated.

The central government on Thursday issues fresh guidelines and SOPs for cultural event and other social gathering in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic ahead of festive season.

"These guidelines contain Standard Operating Procedures to be followed by the management of theatres and performance spaces, as well as the entertainment, creative agencies, artists and crew or any other persons who hire the auditoriam or any other open, closed performance spaces, whether on payment or gratis. Comprehensive guidelines have been issued for Artists & Crew, management of Green Rooms, Stage management, Costume and make up trials, Sanitization of venue including stage, Open area seating etc," the ministry said in a statement.

Adequate physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed at all times. Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory at all times. Availability of hand sanitizers, preferably in the touch-free mode, at entry and exit points as well as common areas within the premises.

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