Durga Puja is just round the corner and Guwahati city is slowly decking up and Guwahatians are in a ‘shop till you drop’ mood. The surprising part is that many Durga Puja celebration committees are yet to register their names with the police administration.
A report published in the The Assam Tribune stated that as per rule, all Durga Puja celebration committees are required to register their names with the police administration and take formal permission. This has to be done mainly for security reasons and to maintain discipline during the puja days.
The report further quoted the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) (Guwahati West) Bhanwar Lal Meena as saying, “In Guwahati West district under the police commissionerate, around 175 committees celebrate Durga Puja every year. But, this time till now only 71 puja celebration committees have taken permission from us.”
DCP (Guwahati Central) Ranjan Bhuyan informed that last year around 169 committees celebrated Durga Puja in the central part of the city, but this time only 110 have taken permission so far. The police administration revealed this fact at a meeting held on Monday in Guwahati among puja committees, district administration, Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and police along with all line departments.
The Joint Commissioner of Police Diganta Borah informed that in the past few days many people have complained at various police stations of the city about “forceful collection of donations” by some puja committees.
“I appeal to every puja committee to be very careful while collecting donations so as to avoid unwarranted situations. Moreover, all concerned must follow the guidelines set by the court in respect of use of loudspeakers. Last year, we had received some complaints on this issue,” Borah said.
The Commissioner of Police Pradip Chandra Saloi appealed to the office-bearers of puja committees to keep adequate space to accommodate emergency services. “If miscreants try to do any harm to your arrangements for the puja, don’t punish them on the spot; rather, hand them over to us. Again, maintain adequate security around the idols. Deploy volunteers round the clock near the idols. Also, take help of the Food Safety Department to ensure the quality of the prasad,” Saloi said.
The Commissioner of Police cautioned that there is a threat of attacks by militants during the puja days. “During the past few years no major law-and-order issue or attack by militants took place during puja in Guwahati. But, this time we should be careful,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of Kamrup (Metro) Pulak Mahanta urged all celebration committees to make this puja a plastic-free festival. He also appealed to all to use the Assamese language on every banner and poster.
Mahanta requested all puja committees to complete the idol immersion process as early as possible because till now the Brahmaputra has been maintaining a high level in comparison to the corresponding period of previous years. “I request you all to avoid plastic. It will be a great relief for us in the next monsoon to mitigate the waterlogging problem. Moreover, all puja celebration areas will be declared as no-tobacco zones,” Mahanta said.
The Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Monalisa Goswami informed that on each of the Durga Puja days, GMC workers would carry out cleanliness drives at every Puja venue twice. Members of the puja celebration committees from Panjabari area urged the district administration to take appropriate measures to prevent entry of wild elephants from the nearby forest land.
Again, few puja committee members urged the administration to declare the last day of Durga Puja a dry day, as some people get drunk and create unhealthy situation during immersion. It may be mentioned that this time the designated places for idol immersion in the city are Fancy Bazar, Pandu Port, Sunsali Ghat, Jyotikuchi, Dharapur and Sonapur.