The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Roadblock route to ritual revelry

The charges: Trinamul Congress MLA Sadhan Pande, as patron of Rammohan Roy Durga Puja Committee, has not objected to the pandal blocking Raja Rammohun Roy Road, causing immense inconvenience to commuters. This is an important thoroughfare in north Calcutta. A large number of vehicles coming from Salt Lake/Lake Town use this road to reach Sealdah station, as well as Esplanade, in order to avoid the busy Maniktala crossing. Usually, during the four days of the Pujas, this thoroughfare becomes a “no-entry” zone for vehicles. This time will be no different.

6The stretch of road left free by the organisers is too narrow for a fire brigade vehicle or even an ambulance to pass through, should an emergency arise

6Judging by the number of microphones and loudspeakers being put up, sound pollution will be the flavour of the season. According to residents, the decibel level set by the pollution control board has been flouted every year in the previous years

6Pande is also a patron of four other pujas, which are partly blocking Sukea Street, Kailash Bose Street and Haranath Dey Road. Though not as bad as in Rammohun Roy Road, the encroachment will still inconvenience commuters.

Pande’s defence: Allow me to clarify matters. Durga puja is synonymous with lights, the sound of dhaks, loudspeakers and pandals. What would the Pujas be without these' Would it be any fun if these elements were missing' So, we shall have them and let the people enjoy them. Why would you like to deprive them of their annual quota of fun and merriment'

But, as we all know, north Calcutta is a congested part of the city, with very few open spaces. Does this mean that Calcuttans here will be deprived of their fun, simply because they happen to be living here' Is it being fair to them' I think not.

So, what is the solution' The answer, I feel, lies in erecting pandals on the streets. I don’t believe that anyone would mind a little bit of inconvenience during the Pujas. After all, you cannot have everything in life.

You can’t expect to have fun and at the same time expect that there will not be a bit of disruption in the normal course of affairs. Of course, there will be and, besides a few nagging people, most will be thrilled with that.

Why do you see only the negative side of the Pujas: the blocking of roads leading to people taking detours, loud music from microphones and crowds' Why not, instead, take a look at the flip side'

The Pujas provide entertainment and joy to lakhs of people. They love the music, the crowds; they admire the pandals and spend hours gazing at them.

Why not make this occasion worthwhile for them instead of complaining about a few inconveniences'

nAnother report on Page 19

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