Kolkata High Court directs West Bengal government to hold to distribute funds among Puja committees

KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court Friday directed the West Bengal government and put  an interim stay of government’s decision to provide a grant of Rs 10,000 each to 28,000 Durga Puja committees across the state.

On September 10, Banerjee declared that Rs 10,000 would be given to each of the 28,000 Puja committees across West Bengal – 3,000 in Kolkata and 25,000 in other parts, costing the state government an amount of Rs 28 crore.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar passed the interim order on a petition by advocate Sourabh Dutta, who challenged the distribution of funds. The bench asked the government if the distribution of such a large amount of money involved any guidelines.

The state government tried to justify its decision saying the money would be used to highlight the Chief Minister’s ‘Safe Drive Save Life’ campaign, to which the court said, “Why can’t the government itself run this campaign?”

State Bharatiya Janata Party President Dilip Ghosh accused Banerjee of practicing appeasement politics. Earlier government had announced allowances for Imams. Now, this has been done to pacify Hindus with an eye on Hindu votes, how can they just allot Rs. 28 crore for Pujas,” said Mr Ghosh.

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