The organisers of the Mohammad Ali Park Durga Puja have been asked by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) to dismantle the pandal that was coming up inside the park and move to the site where the puja was held last year.
In 2021, the puja was held on the stairs leading to the park and a small part of the ground.
The Telegraph reported on August 11 that the pandal was coming up inside the park, breaking from the practice of the last three years. On August 11, the KMC had asked the organisers to put the pandal construction on hold.
On Saturday, the KMC’s water supply department wrote to the puja committee asking them to relocate the pandal. “You are hereby directed to STOP CONSTRUCTION OF PANDAL WORK and remove the partly constructed pandal from Md Ali Park semi-underground water reservoir immediately to avoid disaster due to collapse of the water reservoir,” says the letter from the civic body.
Mayor Firhad Hakim told this newspaper on Saturday evening that the organisers had been asked to move the pandal from the site where it was coming up.
Copies of the KMC’s letter have been sent to the officer-incharge of Joransanko police station and the deputy commissioner of Kolkata police, central division.
An official of the KMC said they came to know after an inspection that the pandal was being built on a portion of the park that has an underground reservoir. “No one from the KMC gave them permission to build the pandal inside the park. They can erect the pandal at the site where the puja was held in 2021,” the official said.
Last year, the pandal was built on the stairs leading to the park from Chittaranjan Avenue and a very tiny portion of the ground immediately after the flight of steps. The KMC official said the portion of the ground immediately after the steps had no reservoir beneath it.
In 2019 and 2020, the puja was held inside a fire station adjacent to the park.
A 4-million-gallon capacity water reservoir under the park has developed cracks and repairs are pending. The cracks were noticed after a team of engineers inspected the reservoir in 2019.
Surendra Sharma, general secretary of the puja committee, said on Sunday evening that shifting the pandal now meant huge trouble. “We will meet KMC officials on Monday. We have already placed an order for the idol and its size is commensurate with that of the pandal,” Sharma said.