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Mamata Banerjee Woos Durga Puja Committees With Sops, Requests UNESCO To Declare It Global Festival

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to declare “Durga Puja as intangible cultural heritage of humanity and global festival”. Festivities will take place under similar Covid restrictions as last year, she told reporters on Tuesday.

“Last year a series of measures were adopted to hold the Durga Puja amid Covid-19. I don’t think any additional measures are required. Whatever measures were introduced last year would be enough and may be followed this year too,” she said during a press briefing.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo also informed reporters that the government has not taken any decision on whether people would be allowed to visit puja pandals at night. “The decision on people visiting Durga puja pandals at night will be taken later, depending on how the expected third wave of Covid-19 surfaces,” she said.

Amid all this, the TMC-led Bengal government has also announced a grant of Rs 50,000 to each Durga Puja committee to help them make up for the sponsorships that dried up due to the coronavirus pandemic. A 50 per cent reduction in electricity tariffs and free licenses will also be given to puja committees, chief secretary HK Dwivedi said on Tuesday.