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Pandal of bottles makes a statement

Dibrugarh, Nov. 5: Among the 100-odd Kali Pujas in Dibrugarh, the Bengali-dominated Naliapool area is one, which organises around 30 Pujas every year.

This year was no exception and people from various parts of Dibrugarh and its adjoining areas were seen thronging the pandals in and around Naliapool, where the festival of lights is being celebrated with devotion, fun and frolic.

“Many people do not get a chance to visit the Kamakhaya temple in their lifetime. Therefore, we thought it would not be an altogether bad idea to build the pandal resembling the Kamakhaya,” an organiser said.

The pandal at Puja in K.P. Road resembles Cooch Behar’s Rajbari while Delhi’s planetarium-shaped pandal at the Kali Puja on the Bani Sadan School premises is also drawing large crowds.

However, most of revellers are making a beeline for the New Mastarpara Sarvajanin Kali Puja Committee where the motto of the organisers is to be self-sufficient with the least resources available.

The 27-feet-high and 16-feet-wide pandal here is constructed solely of mineral water and cold drink bottles, which is a big source of attraction for the crowds, pouring in hundreds to have a close view of the pandal.

“During Durga Puja, Kali Puja and even Bihu celebrations it has almost become a custom to call artisans from outside the state like Calcutta to construct pandals. However, we wanted to do something to reverse this thought. We wanted to showcase our talents who are capable of doing something unique to draw crowds at a minimum budget,” Dilip Chandra Dey, the assistant general secretary of the Puja committee, said.

The committee involved a three-member group of local artisans headed by Bijoy Ranjan Dey (Biju) who had been engaged in the work for the past two weeks with assistance from a group of helpers.

For construction of the pandal, the organisers had procured 3,360 used bottles of cold drinks of which 2,500 had been hired from an agency with a rent of Rs 5,000 and mineral water bottles to build the pandal.

“We are using Dendrite as adhesive to join the bottles in such a way that there is no risk of any breakdown. People were made to walk on the structure to ensure that there were no lapses,” Bijoy, who stays in the locality, told The Telegraph.

“The Puja here was first organised in 1973 and in 1985 we had tried out on the same model. Then a team of artisans from Siliguri erected the structure,” Ashish Chakravarty, the president of the committee, said.

The budget for the Puja is Rs 60,000.

“We wanted to tell the people that if there is sincerity and devotion, a small amount is enough to do good work,” Chakravarty said.

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