The district administration is firm on not extending the deadline for the immersion of Durga Puja idols beyond October 14 — Dashami.
District magistrate N. Saravana Kumar convened a meeting with at least 50 puja organisers at the Patna collectorate on Monday. Several guidelines and instructions were issued to the puja organisers. Failing to comply with these would invite action, including cancellation of their licences.
The organisers put forward several demands but most of these were turned down.
Regarding immersion of idols, Saravana said: “All puja samitis should immerse their idols by October 14. They can at most extend it till 8-9am on October 15, but the deadline should not be extended. In case special permission is sought, the organisers should contact the station house officer concerned. There should not be any last-minute change vis-a-vis where the idols would be immersed. The samitis should declare from before the ghat they propose to immerse their idols in.”
When the organisers said they would face problems at the ghats because of the muddy state they are in, Saravana said cranes would be in placeto help the organisers take the idols up to the river.
Law and order was another major problem the Durga Puja organisers raised before the administration.
Senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj assured them that police officers in civil clothes and quick mobile service personnel, apart from women officers, would keep vigil near the pandals to catch criminals or eve-teasers.
Maharaj had his own set of instructions too.
“The organisers should ensure they put a strong barricade around their pandals and lay down a dress code for the volunteers. Every pandal should have closed-circuit television cameras. The deputy superintendent of police (Town) will identify all the conflict points and deploy adequate force. There should also be no conflict regarding immersion of idols. The organisers should ensure the youths in the immersion procession are not inebriated,” he said.
He also directed the organisers to play only devotional songs, but said loudspeakers should not be used beyond 10pm. Patna city superintendent of police (SP), and traffic SP, Jayant Kant said sticks or any harmful material should not be kept in the pandals.
While the law and order issue was settled and the organisers also got assurance of help in the immersion, demand for water availability was turned down.
“It is not possible for the district administration to arrange for water tankers at every pandal. It has to be the organisers’ responsibility,” said Saravana.
Apart from that, he ensured the organisers that Patna Municipal Corporation and Patna Electricity Supply Undertaking would provide them every possible facility.
When The Telegraph asked if political cartoons would be permitted inside the pandals, the DM said: “It should not hurt the feelings of any individual, otherwise legal action will be taken.”
General secretary of Sri Sri Durga Puja Samiti, Mahendru, Sanjay Kumar said: “This meeting helped us present our problems before the administration.”