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Pandal work given up midway

Malda, Oct. 12: Organisers of two Durga Pujas here have been left in the lurch by pandal decorators from Nadia district who abandoned the work midway and left early yesterday morning.

The two affected pujas are being organised by Anik Sangha and Singhatola Club, both located in Ek Number Colony in town. The decorators were supposed to have finished the work and handed over the pandals to the organisers by yesterday evening.

While Anik Sangha had decided to erect a pandal using bamboo, Singhatola Club was constructing a temple-type pandal with coir. Both the pandals were being constructed by Ma Manasa Decorators from Nabadwip in Nadia district.

“The decorators had begun work on September 13. We were using bamboo mats, utensils and vases to make a 50-feet-high and 90-feet-wide temple that would have 30 bamboo figures all around. They were supposed to complete the pandal yesterday evening,” said the secretary of the Puja committee of Anik Sangha, Manoj Bhakat. He added that the total charge for the decoration was Rs 2.5 lakh, and Rs 1.6 lakh had been paid in advance.

However, yesterday morning all nine workers engaged by the decorators were found missing, forcing the organisers to hire local labourers in a bid to complete the work. “We are doubtful whether these labourers can pull it off as they are not specialised,” said Bhakat.

The secretary of Singhatola Club Puja committee, Chandan Das, said the decorator had taken Rs 72,000 to build the pandal with coir and rice stalks. The pandal was planned to be modelled on a temple in a rural setting. “We had noticed yesterday that the pace of work was slow and told the decorators that we wanted the job done by this evening. But they left without finishing the work. I think as the decorators could not do any work on two days because of rain last week, they feared that they would not be able to complete the pandal and left,” said Das.

Both the Puja committee secretaries said the owner of Ma Manasa Decorators, Panchanan Debnath, had switched off his mobile phone and could not be contacted since yesterday.

Both the committees lodged FIRs against the decorator with Englishbazar police station this afternoon.

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