This year, Durga Puja organisers had to combat a new demon called GST. Maintaining the grandeur of their Pujas, barowari committees and clubs had to walk a tight rope as far as funds are concerned. Kolkata and districts alike, everyone has had to bear the brunt of GST. A look at some of the top pandals of Howrah district who made the best of what they could get.
Name: Howrah Saraswati Club
Theme: The focus is on Lakshmi at this Durga Puja pandal as the organisers have extensively used materials primarily used for Lakshmi Puja. The owl, patachitras of Lakshmi, jhanpis, kori (shells), winnowing fans (kulo), conch shells have been used in various sizes and shapes to decorate the pandal. These have made the pandal look colourful and gorgeous. The idol is traditional but in keeping with the colour schemes of the theme. “It was a tough battle for us. We were wondering how to collect funds for Durga Puja this year. Everything suddenly became so expensive,” said a club member.
Bantra Nabin Sangha
Theme: An enormous collection of puja numbers have been showcased at this pandal this year. Collected from various sources in the locality, the puja numbers and their cover pages have been used to decorate the walls and arches of the pandal. “It looking back on the years when the arrival of puja numbers at the stands meant that Puja was just around the corner,” said Subhojyoti Das. The deity here is peaceful, not holding weapons but blessing her devotees. The demon is seen seated with folded arms in front of the goddess asking for forgiveness. “We had to reduce the budget drastically. We are working on a deficit of Rs 10 lakh this year,” said Subhojyoti Das, a member of the club.
Theme: A Haveli is being represented at the pandal here. The 16 feet tall idol is traditional and attractive, as is expected from the house of Sanatan Rudra Pal.”It wa coincidental that local people who are involved withe the Puja also wanted a simple pandal this year. GST was an added reason that forced us to decide on a simple theme,” said a club member.