With three months to go for Durga puja, arrangements are afoot for the five-day festival, but organisers, much like last year, have decided to keep the celebrations low key in view of the COVID-19 situation. The Forum for Durgotsab, a platform of 500 community Durga pujas in the city, took to Facebook on Sunday to say that the countdown has begun, and a list of norms, to be adopted for this year's celebrations, would soon be prepared.
State minister and one of the spearheads of big-ticket Chetla Agrani Puja, Firhad Hakim, said "this is not the time to organise a gala Durga puja".
"We have asked our clay modeller to make an idol which is comparatively smaller in size," the transport and housing minister said.
Echoing him, his cabinet colleague Subrata Mukherjee, associated with Ekdalia Evergreen committee, maintained that the panel has decided not to invest in dazzling illumination, which is the hallmark of the popular south Kolkata puja.
"The idol will be housed in a smaller-sized pandal, unlike the giant ones that we have made before the pandemic struck," he explained.
Organisers at Bhawanipore 75 Pally, one of the award-winning pujas in the city, said they are planning to stick to just the basics.
"With so many people having lost their dear ones during the second wave of the pandemic, this isn't the time for any ostentatious display or lavish celebrations. All that can wait for better days," Subir Das, the secretary of Bhawanipore 75 Pally, pointed out.
He further added that "humanity" would be the committee's theme this year.
"We have provided relief materials to those affected by Cyclone Yaas and organised vaccination camps, over the past few months. Maa Durga wants us to serve humanity this year," he added.
TMC's Rashbehari MLA Debasish Kumar, who also happens to be an office-bearer of the popular Tridhara Sammilani puja, said, "All rituals will be observed for worshipping Maa Durga, but there won't be any celebration".
At SB Park Puja in Thakurpukur, which won laurels last year for replacing the traditional Durga idol with that of a migrant woman labourer to highlight the plight of such workers amid the pandemic, the organisers said that they are looking forward to a theme that will "meet the aesthetic parameters" within a limited budget.
(With PTI inputs)