TDN World Desk: Irrespective small or big, Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee announces donation for 28,000 puja committee across the state, with 10,000 rupees each. Mamta announced about the scheme after a meeting with the representatives of Puja committees at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Monday. The sum will be allocated to 3000 Puja committees in Kolkata area and 25,000 across rural Bengal, she revealed. The Government will make the donation available only for those Puja committees who have Sarbojanin status. In the city, the donation will be handed over to the Puja committees by Kolkata police. And in the districts, Police and consumer office jointly execute the deliverance of the donations.

Yesterday, representatives from city and district Puja committees were present at Netaji Indoor Stadium. Every year, before Puja, Chief Minister holds such meeting with the Puja committees. And in this meeting the ins and outs regarding Puja Carnival and the date of immersion of the idols are scheduled. This year followed the same. Along with the settlement of donation, the Chief Minister also sets the date for the immersion.

The immersion will be carried out from Oct. 19 to 22.On 23rd Puja Carnival will take place. Here, 75 puja committees will participate this year, said Chief Minister. Last year 55 puja committees took part in Puja Carnival with their theme idols. Next year the number of participants are likely to be much higher, she said. Along with the cities the village puja committees will also join the Carnival.

Besides, to facilitate the puja committees Chief Minister issued instructions to CESC and state electricity suppliers to grant an increased amount of electricity subsidy. Last year, 18 to 20 percent subsidy was granted to Electricity bill. This year 20 to 23 percent subsidy will be given, she instructed so. Along with this, she also said that the puja committees will not have to deposit licenses fee for Fire extinguishing, City Corporation departments.

Amidst this declaration, oppositions are sensing political savour. According to them, though Durga Puja is turned into a social festival, basically, it is a ceremonial observed by people from a particular religion. And for any particular religious community can the Government Issue such donations, questions are being raised. Besides, the Government is lavishly pouring money to the hands of puja committees keeping an eye on the upcoming Parliamentary election which is imbued with a political tendency to influence the voter on the religion lines, the opposition allegedly claimed.

Dilip Ghosh, the State president of BJP in West Bengal criticised this move by the government. “By pouring money in this way she will not be able to buy up votes, when did the Government pay heed on the infrastructure, construction of roads and bridges? No money to mend the bridges! Whereas, attempts are being made to buy the clubs.” Mr. Gosh also opined that in no religious endeavour Government should spend money.

Sujon Chakraborty, the politburo member of CPM, expressed the same opinion. He said,” the Government whose priority is not in repairing bridges, rather in spending money in fair, festivals and playing, they will definitely do this! In secular countries this things don’t happen. All these happening unethically.”