Kolkata, Sept 6: With West Bengal still recovering from the ravages of the COVID-19 second wave and cyclone Yaas, several Durga puja committees here have decided to allot a portion of this year's budget for humanitarian causes.
Samajsebi Sangha Durga Puja, one of the big-ticket pujas in the city, said it would bear a year's educational and medical expenses of 10 children orphaned due to COVID-19, as part of its project 'Sneho'.
"Puja is all about serving humanity. We have decided to shun all pomp and show this Durga puja. In our locality, a child lost both his parents to the second wave.
"Our members have unanimously decided to chip in for 10 such children... Those deprived of 'sneho' (affection) by a sudden cruel blow of fate," Arijit Moitra, the committee's general secretary, told PTI.
Lauding the initiative, Rasbehari MLA Debashis Kumar said Goddess Durga will be happier, if the puja organisers reach out to the poor and the needy. He promised to extend all possible support to the Samajsebi puja committee. The popular College Square Durga Puja committee will be distributing books and toys among children in the Sundarbans region, where two cyclones have wreaked havoc in the course of a year.
"Our team will visit Chhoto Mollakhali area in Sundarbans on October 3 to hand over books and games to children. We will give extravagant illumination a miss this year," one of the organisers said.
The Bhawanipore 75 Pally has decided to come to the aid of 'Chhau' artistes of Purulia district, who have been badly hit by the lockdown. 'Chhau', a traditional dance form, has performers retelling episodes of Ramayana, Mahabharata and the puranas, donning colourful costumes and masks.
"Many artistes, craftsmen are facing financial hardships as festivals and fairs have been called off across the country amid the pandemic. We will do our bit to help at least some of them," Subir Das, the secretary of Bhawanipore 75 Pally, said.