Chinsura (Hooghly), Oct. 12: A puja pandal in Burrabazar near Chinsurah police station was gutted in a fire which broke out at around 2.30 am today. No casualty was reported but the idols were severely damaged.
As the news spread, policemen came running to the pandal, which is close to the residence of state minister for co-operation, Naren De. Though De was not present, several of his family members were there.
The puja was organised by the Azad Hind Club. Locals and club members, however, alleged that the fire brigade personnel reached the spot late though they were informed immediately after the fire broke out.
However, the officer-in-charge of local fire brigade, Lakshmi Narayan Bit said they had only one fire tender in their Chinsura fire brigade station. “When we got the information from the puja organisers, we could not send the fire tender because it was busy fighting a blaze at a market in Rabindra Nagar. Our problem is that we have only one fire tender and it is impossible for us to control fire once it occur simultaneously in two different places”, Bit added.
Organisers said they had to rebuild the pandal once again and bring in fresh idols from the Kumartali area once again to begin the pujas afresh. “We had to collect funds within a short notice to begin the pujas afresh,” said Swapan Dutta, an executive member of the club.
In another development, a scuffle ensued between the local police and puja organisers at Konnagar over the use of microphone throughout last night. The police later arrested Rabi Mandal, a member of a local puja committee in Kanaipur under Uttarpara police station. Police said that the club members were blowing loud speakers violating all norms. “When the locals objected to this, club members refused to oblige them. The scuffle ensued when agitated locals tried to catch hold of the public address system,” said a police officer.
Sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), Sreerampur, later said the police had already arrested a club member for violation of rules. “We have identified some more members and will arrest them soon,” he added.