No inflation shadow on this Durga Puja

Cuttack: This Durga Puja, the silver city, popular for the extravagance in style reflected in gold and silver work, will continue to dazzle as the economic downturn has hardly made a dent in the lavishness and spectacle of celebrations.

For the organisers, including the first-timers, the global recession has undoubtedly put a huge impact on the country’s economy, but it should not leave a mark on the festivities for which they wait for a whole year.

“It’s a well known fact that the shadow of recession is on everything. But we cannot help it by downsizing our budget only. The other aspect is that lakhs of people throng our pandal every year to see its grandiose decoration and we cannot compromise on that due to the economic slowdown. Looking at this year’s estimate in all sections, our budget will touch around Rs 30 lakh,” Khannagar-Khapuria Industrial area puja committee secretary Prafulla Kumar Sahu said.

Puja committee members of Chandinichowk, Markatnagar-Sector 6 and Haripur-Dolamundai also speak in the same vein.

“We cannot resort to cost cutting as Durga puja is the most special festival of Cuttack. People from across the state throng the city to get a glimpse of the grand celebration and we cannot dishearten them by putting up a poor show," said Nishakar Das, secretary, Sector-6 Residential puja committee.

The committee has budgeted Rs 10 lakh for puja this time while the organisers at Palaja and Chandinichowk have earmarked Rs 30 and Rs 25 lakh, respectively. Estimates put the figure of groups at 25 out of nearly 155, who spend between Rs 25-30 lakh in puja celebrations.

The organisers, who want give their pandals and idols a distinct look, however admit that majority of them have hiked their budgets this time due to rising cost of labour and other puja paraphernalia.

"We never force the residents to pay more for puja. Major chunk of the funds come from puja committee members and businessmen of the area,” said a senior member of Chandinichowk puja committee.

"Every year lighting and decorations are the major attractions of our pandal and this year we will add more to this,” said a member of Chauliganj puja committee adding that Durga puja celebrations are an integral part of our life since childhood and it will get bigger every year.