Maddox Square in Ballygunge is a no-adda zone for puja revellers for the second consecutive year this time with the organisers deciding to keep the ground clear of all visitors who would want to sit and chat.
The Ballygunge Durga Puja Samity has decided that this year, too, visitors would only watch the idol from a distance before walking out of the park, which has remained a favourite meet-and-chat venue for many over the decades.
The famed adda at Maddox Square would continue throughout the night. The revellers would disperse only at break of dawn.
The pandemic has prompted the organisers to put in place a series of measures to ensure there is no lounging by visitors.
“We have deployed about 45 volunteers who are moving around the park in shifts requesting everyone to move out after darshan,” said Amalendu Sarkar, of the puja committee. “We are requesting the visitors with folded hands that let the adda sessions be held at your homes and not here.”
This year, the organisers of one of the most popular pujas in south Kolkata have set up an idol which is about 12ft high, about 4ft higher than last year. The idea is to help visitors catch a view of the deity from a distance.
The organisers have also visited around 300-odd homes in the locality, requesting members to ensure that guests don’t stay back in the park after the darshan for adda sessions.
“The pandemic is far from over and we have informed residents of the neighbourhood that we have no option but to abide by the rules and regulations laid down by the state government,” said Subhasish Adak of the puja committee.
“If things improve next year, we would be happy to see the adda sessions back in our park.”
The puja committee has come up with a slogan in Bangla that says “Aandhar ekhono kateyni Ma Durga/Baaiesh jeno aashirbaader hoy (The darkness is far from over Mother Durga/Let 2022 be the year of your blessings)”.
Veterans recalled how decades back, Maddox Square would have night-long cultural programmes with residents of the neighbourhood putting up performances, including plays.
While the cultural programmes stopped long back, Maddox Square continued to remain the favourite adda zone for many revellers.
A police picket has been set up inside the park for round-the clock surveillance.
Every evening, a tea of cops joins the volunteers requesting visitors to leave the park after seeing the idol.
Even stalls are being done away with to avoid crowding in front of them inside the park.