Not just a fes­ti­val, Durga Puja sus­tains 4 lakh for 6 months

Gen­er­ates 15,000cr In West Ben­gal

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Subhro Niyogi & Udit Prasanna Mukherji |

Kolkata: Durga Puja, one of the big­gest com­mu­nity fes­ti­vals in the world, is also one of the largest em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tors in West Ben­gal, sus­tain­ing over four lakh peo­ple for more than six months ev­ery year.

With more than 10,000 Pu­jas across the state and 1,000 more in other parts of In­dia and rest of the world, the fes­ti­val has in re­cent years emerged as a hub of ac­tiv­ity with each com­mu­nity Puja sus­tain­ing a mi­cro-econ­omy, par­tic­u­larly in Kolkata. From those erect­ing the pan­dals to the dec­o­ra­tors, idol­mak­ers to crafts­men, elec­tri­cians to se­cu­rity per­sons, priests to dhakis (drumTMC MP Nus­rat Ja­han dur­ing ‘sin­door khela’ at a Puja pan­dal in Kolkata on Fri­day. The ac­tor, crit­i­cised by an Is­lamic cleric for tak­ing part in Durga Puja cel­e­bra­tions, shot back, say­ing she was ‘God’s spe­cial child’ who will spread the mes­sage of com­mu­nal har­mony

mers), the Pu­jas help thou­sands to eke out a liv­ing or boost their earn­ings.

“The five-day fes­ti­val gen­er­ates trans­ac­tions worth Rs 4,500 crore in Kolkata and Rs 15,000 crore in the en­tire state,” says Ka­jal

Sarkar, pres­i­dent of Fo­rum for Dur­got­sav, a body of the city’s 100 ‘mega’ Pu­jas. In­dian Cham­ber of Com­merce di­rec­tor gen­eral Ra­jeev Singh be­lieves Durga Puja’s turnover in Kolkata could triple to Rs 15,000 crore in the next few years.

In­dia Inc was quick to re­alise the mag­netism of these Pu­jas and spot the op­por­tu­nity to catch over a mil­lion eye­balls over five days. Soon, mega-bucks and spon­sors fol­lowed. Ac­cord­ing to Ravi Pod­dar of Enkon and Avishek Bhattachar­ya of Brand & Beau­ti­ful, who play a ma­jor role in link­ing ad­ver­tis­ers with Puja or­gan­is­ers, the cor­po­rate spend­ing in Kolkata’s Pu­jas amount to nearly Rs 500-800 crore with ad­ver­tise­ment through ban­ners and gates ac­count­ing for nearly Rs 150 crore.

Puja or­ga­niz­ers are no longer de­pen­dent on con­tri­bu­tions from lo­cal res­i­dents. If the bud­get of more tra­di­tional and low-key Pu­jas is around Rs 15 lakh, that for the big ones can go up to Rs 1 crore de­pend­ing on the lo­ca­tion, size and ex­e­cu­tion of the theme. Cor­po­rate fund­ing and out­door ad­ver­tis­ing ac­count for about 90% of the cost.

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