Jamshedpur, March 27: Festivals are time for fun, singing, dancing and feasting. But who foots the bills'
While money is collected from the general public for festivals such as the Durga Puja, it is the business class or shopkeepers who fund festivals such as Ram Navami.
“Money is extorted for Durga Puja, Kali Puja and Ram Navami. Of late, a new trend of collection for Id has also begun. Sometimes we just lose patience,” said Chand Gupta, owner of Chanda grocery store, Kadma.
The manner of collection is not uniform for the akharas. “Usually people come from nearby areas and once in a while it is not a problem,” said Amit Desai, East India sports stores, Bistupur.
Some, willing to give money, are troubled by the manner in which it is extracted.
Naresh Aggarwal, cloth merchant of Yuvraj store at Sakchi, said: “We are troubled by this kind of extortion as the funds are not properly used. People should not be expected to cough up money for a grand celebration that only a particular group of people want.”
He feels that shop owners at Sakchi are the most harassed as the market is at the centre of the city. “We have people from Mango, Sonari, Adityapur all collecting money. Also, there is no account shown of the money spent,” added Aggarwal.
“No one should be forced to pay money as happens nowadays,” said B.K. Choudhary, owner of Choudhary Medical Stores, Sakchi. He cites examples of akaras getting eight to 10 troops of drummers or spending too much on decoration.
“The teams who come to collect should print an expenditure statement. People should decide if so much of money should be spent on a few days of celebration,” said Ramesh Chuhan, shopkeeper, RV Lab, Kadma.
Many businessmen also complain that the “donation” increases every year.