September 10, 2018
Durga Puja Bishorjon Carnival on October 23: Mamata Banerjee
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today held a preparatory meeting with the representatives of various Durga Puja organising committees in Kolkata.
At the meeting, the Chief Minister announced that this year the annual Durga Puja Bishorjon Carnival will be held at Red Road on October 23.
Highlights of Mamata Banerjee’s speech:
The manner in which the Durga Puja committees organise the annual festival is unmatched. They are the pride of Bengal.
For the last couple of years, Eid and Durga Puja were held peacefully around the same time. There have been no untoward incidents. People of all communities participate in the festivities.
The volunteers at various Puja pandals work tirelessly during the days of the festival. They manage the crowds throughout the night. Our police force, fire department, disaster management teams work in unison 24X7.
An exhibition on Durga Pujo was held at Thames Festival in London few days ago. Representatives from our Tourism Department were present for this event.
Many foreign guests come to Bengal for Durga Puja. This is a matter of pride for us. We have to ensure they have a pleasant stay. Administration and police must organise coordination meetings in every district.
Do not pay heed to inciteful propaganda. One communal political party wants to polarise people on religious lines. We love Hinduism. It is not an imported religion. Hinduism has its roots in India.
Some people make tall claims. Can they organise Bakr-Eid and Durga Puja at the same time? No. Last year we had to stop Bishorjon for one day because of Muharram, and because of that a lot of propaganda was carried out on social media. Some people only criticise on social media. You must exercise caution before believing such propaganda. We will never do anything that is against the interests of the people.
Few days ago, a fake news was spread that we are prohibiting Durga Pujo. Can you believe it? Will you believe if I told you that Eid and Christmas have been banned? These are tactics to spread communal discord. It is easy to incite riots, but not easy to douse the fire. We will not allow anyone to play with fire.
Durga Pujo immersions will be held from October 19-22. We will organise Durga Pujo Bishorjon Carnival at Red Road on October 23 at 4 PM. Last year, 55 clubs participated, this year, 75 clubs will participate.
We extend our gratitude to CESC and Electricity Department. Last year you provided a rebate on 18-20%. I would request you to increase it to 20-23% this year. I would also instruct the Urban Development Department, Panchayat Department and Fire Services Department not to take any license fee.
Around 3,000 big and small Durga Pujas are organised in Kolkata. The number for rest of Bengal is 25,000. We have decided to give Rs 10,000 each to all Durga Puja committees in the 144 wards of KMC. This amount will be given for community development programme. Similarly, various departments will give Rs 10,000 each to all puja organisers in districts.
Even if I am unable to go to every Puja pandal, I watch all the puja pandals on television. Durga Pujo is our biggest festival. I am with every Puja organiser. I would request every puja organiser to extend your cooperation. We require volunteers. Inform about them to the police. Big or small – every Durga Pujo committee is equal. No one should be neglected.
Arup had asked me to compose a theme song for Durga Pujo. I have penned a song on the theme ‘Jaago Durga’. There are many dhaakis and Lok Prasar artistes in Bengal. The puja committees must support them. Promote their talent.
Religion is personal but festival is for all.
If anyone tries to buy off the puja committees in lieu of money, they must desist such attempts. Be alert and avoid any untoward incident.