Agartala: Tripura Chief Minister Dr. Manik Saha has urged Agartala Puja organisers to refrain from the ‘coercive collection’ of Puja subscriptions.

“Donation for Puja should be voluntary,” he said. 

Saha asked the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) to fix ceilings on Puja subscriptions and budgets, finalised by the organisers, based on the financial background of the people residing in the urban areas.

Saha also reminded the Puja organisers that Puja subscriptions should not turn out to be a burden on the donors.

The Chief Minister was addressing the customary pre-Puja meet with the clubs and social organisations at Rabindra Centenary Hall at Agartala on Wednesday.

Information and Cultural Affairs minister Sushanta Chowdhury, AMC Mayor Dipak Majumder, Deputy Mayor Manika Das Datta, Chief Secretary JK Sinha, DGP Amitabh Ranjan, Power department Secretary Brijesh Panday, DIG (Law and Order) GK Rao, West Tripura district DM Debapriya Bardhan, SP West Tripura Shankar Debnath, secretary of Agartala Club Forum secretary Pranab Sarkar and officials of various departments also attended the meet.

“Durga Puja is the biggest festival in the state. The cultural and religious extravaganza marks the four-day long festival across the state. The festive spirit should not be adversely affected by unprecedented things. Forceful collection of Puja subscriptions should be avoided and people should be allowed to donate as per their affordability. If there is any complaint, the law will take its course,” said Dr Saha.

He also advised the Puja committees to rely on local artists for setting up Puja marquees and lighting works. 

“Since the inception of the BJP government in Tripura, we have been trying to emphasise self-reliance. But on Puja days we see a lot of artists coming from other states for Puja-related works. We should give exposure to our local artists so that the huge money that is spent during the festivals rolls goes into the local economy,” Dr Saha added.

ICA Minister Sushanta Chowdhury requested all the clubs to participate in the Mayer Gomon — a carnival for immersion of idols. “On October 7, the grand immersion event will be organised and all the clubs are requested to take part in the grand event,” he added.

GK Rao, DIG (Law and Order), said a total of 904 applications have been received seeking permission to organise Durga Puja in West Tripura alone. The total figure across the state would be above 2,500.

“Adequate security arrangements would be put in place to make sure that there is no compromise to the safety of people during the Puja days. Police, TSR and NCC volunteers would be assigned with the job to tackle the crowd and traffic during the Puja days,” he said.

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