Kolkata (West Bengal) , Oct 19 : The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered that all Durga Puja pandals across the state be declared no-entry zones to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A division bench of the high court comprising Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee, hearing a public interest litigation, said that no visitors will be allowed to enter the marquees.
For small pandals, barricades will have to be put up five metres from the entrance, while for the bigger ones, the distance has to be 10 metres, the court ordered.
There should be no-entry boards on the barricades, it said.
The court also ordered that only 15 to 25 persons belonging to the organising committees will be allowed to enter the pandals.
The list of the puja committee members who can enter the pandals would be displayed prominently outside the pandals.
West Bengal reported 3,992 new Covid-19 cases today , as per the State Health Department.
With the number of new Covid cases hovering above the 700-mark daily for over 10 days now, the first fortnight of October has recorded more cases than the corresponding period of the previous months during the pandemic. Health care experts see no respite from the Covid onslaught and said the graph could shoot up after the Puja.
Between October 1 and 15, Kolkata logged a total of 11,835 cases. The cases started rising gradually from the second half of September after Mahalaya and Ganesh Puja. With Durga Puja shoppers thronging markets and malls and some political gatherings aggravating the situation, the rise has now turned worse.
The number of positive cases is rising daily. It is expected to go up further as Puja celebrations and pandal-hopping begin. This may continue till after Diwali and even beyond as coronaviruses become more active in winter.
With Agency inputs .