| Bulldozers engaged in the construction of Sheikhpura Mor-Jagdeo Path flyover, near the pandal of Khajpura Shiv Mandir. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
The construction work of a flyover between Sheikhpura Mor and Jagdeo Path has compelled many Puja organisers to shelve their celebration plans this year, much to the disappointment of the revellers.
Most Durga Puja samitis in the area did not erect a pandal this year. Few who have, had to compromise with the size of their pandals.
The revellers visiting the area would also have to negotiate the dust flying around owing to the construction work. Bumpy ride on the stretch would be another hurdle for them.
Till the last year, the road starting from Sheikhpura and culminating at Ashiana turned into a hub of revelry every festive season with rides, food stalls and other attractions.
There are around 12 Puja samitis along the stretch. But this year, there would be only two pandals on the stretch.
The Moon Club Durga Puja Samiti at Jagdeo Path, which has been celebrating the festival for decades, has decided not to erect any pandal this year. “Last year, we had reduced the size of the pandal as the construction work had begun. This year, there is no space to erect a pandal,” said Ajay Kumar, a samiti member.
The Khajpura Shiv Mandir Durga Puja has reduced the size of its pandal compared to last year. “In 2012, the pandal was 75ft tall and 55ft wide. This time, it is 65ft and 40ft in height and width, respectively. We have been forced to make the pandal in a corner of the road. The size of the pandal matters a lot but we had to make a compromise. Devotees can no more see the pandal from a distance,” said Shravan Kumar, the secretary of the samiti.
At present, the front view of the pandal is virtually blocked owing to pillars. The 25m-wide four-lane flyover is expected to be complete in two years.
Sources said the stretch had been a centre of attraction for many years and records a footfall of over 50,000 on each day of the Puja.
Rakesh Gupta, a resident of Raja Bazaar, expressed disappointment over the loss of fun. “We shall miss the celebrations here this year. During the four days of the Puja, this place used to resemble a mini Disneyland with rides for the children and plenty of roadside food stalls. But this year, there are hardly any pandals.”
A senior official of Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Limited, which is constructing the flyover, said: “I can understand the pain of the Puja samitis and the residents of the area. But the flyover is coming up for their convenience. Once it is completed, the residents will praise us.”
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