Mamata sop for Durga Puja

Each puja committee willbe given Rs. 10,000
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced a grant of Rs. 10,000 to every community Durga Puja held in the State. At a co-ordination committee meeting, Ms. Banerjee said that the Kolkata police and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation will pay Rs. 10,000 to each of the 3,000-odd community pujas held in the city. For the nearly 25,000 pujas in the rest of the State; the expenditure will be borne by the Tourism and Consumer Affairs Department and self-help groups, she said.
“The total budget for this allocation is Rs. 28 crore. This is a small contribution from our side. But do keep this in mind that if someone tries to buy the puja committees with more money, do not surrender,” Ms. Banerjee told the puja organisers. She also said that the State Fire Department will not charge any fee for giving fire clearance to the community pujas and urged the Calcutta Electricity Supply Corporation to increase their rebate on tariff charges.
CPI(M) reacts
Senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chkaraborty said that such grants to community pujas would encourage “competitive communalism”.
“Since the Trinamool Congress government is giving honorarium to imams and muezzins, they also have to give it to Durga Puja committees. Instead of reducing the burden on the people by cutting down its share of taxes on petrol and diesel, they are using the money for fairs and religious purposes,” he said. The Trinomool government, however, has repeatedly clarified that it was not giving honorarium to imams and muezzins directly; the honorarium is given by the West Bengal Waqf Board, or the board of trustees that looks after the property of the Muslims, from the accumulated interest on the property.
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