State Editions

Not a good situation ahead of Durga Puja celebrations

| | Lucknow/Varanasi | in Lucknow

Demonetisation and GST have taken the sheen off Durga Puja celebrations this year as a majority of Durga Puja committees across the state have started facing the pinch of cash crunch which would be reflected in pandal decorations.

“This is a bad year for us. The collection has gone down because people do not have money to spare for Puja this year while the cost of raw material has gone up which is affecting decoration of pandal,” general secretary Shashi Bhushan Durga Puja Committee Ashish Bhattacharya said in Lucknow.

Dr Debashish Mukherjee of Bengali Club Durga Puja Committee dittoed Bhattacharya’s sentiments. “The advertisement revenue has taken a nose dive. Big advertisers who used to give good money have refused advertisements this year because they are not sure as how to adjust it in their balance sheet in the new GST regime,” he pointed out.    

The worst affected is Model House Durga Puja Committee which has decided not to organise Puja celebrations this year. One of the committee members, Amarnath Agarwal told 'The Pioneer' that traders were the bulwark of this committee and as notebandi hit the backbone of the community, they did not have enough money to organise Puja this year.

Model House Durga Puja was one of the prestigious Pujas of the city and had won the first prize for last many years for Pandal decoration.

The Sanskritik Sammilani Durga Puja Committee in Indira Nagar has decided not to organise cultural programme on Ashtami. “A dip in revenue collection has forced us to take this decision,” President of the committee Anup Mukherjee said. 

President of Bondhu Mahal Durga Puja Committee, RG Pramanik said that there was utter confusion in the market after the implementation of GST. Traders are not sure about the tax structure and were asking for huge money in the name of GST.

“What can one say when the sculpture asks for more money saying he too will have to pay GST. The burden is coming on the Committees. With resources drying up, this year’s Puja will not have the glitter which is generally associated with Durga Puja celebration,” the Bondhu Mahal president said.

The impact is same across the state. The oldest living city on earth, Varanasi, known as ‘Mini Kolkata’ for its grandeur during Durga Puja festival, is also facing the pinch. 

Most puja committees accepted that they were facing huge problems in collection of money as in some famous pandals, the expenses were likely to go up anything between Rs 40 and Rs 50 lakh due to demonetization and GST. 

“Definitely, we’re facing serious problems in getting money this time as most of the traders are expressing their inability to support the festival as they did earlier due to serious liquidity crisis in their businesses,” said Treasurer of Premier Boys Club, Hathuwa Market Dr Sanjay Gupta. The Club sets up the biggest pandal which attracts maximum rush during the last three days since Saptami. 

However, Gupta added that the organizers are making their best efforts to add grandeur to Puja through their own resources. Almost similar views were also expressed by many others. Rajat Singh of Vijeeta Sporting Club, Jagatganj, said that old supporters have come to their help and have donated heavily.




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