Kolkata: With no restriction on visitors at Subhash Sarobar, it was a free run for them at the lake considered as the lungs of the east and north Kolkata.
The devotees barely had any concern for the ecosystem. A stage — with strobe lights and blaring music — was set up on the 73-acre green expanse that is home to several bird species. To make things worse, music blurted out of DJ boxes and beats of drums reverberated in the air through the night.
“We have to keep the visitors entertained throughout the night. Many from far-flung places will stay in the park at night so that they can conduct the rituals tomorrow at sunrise,” said a member of Sevoknagar Nabayubak Brindo Club, the ‘organizers’.
Devotees started pouring in since morning so that they could ‘rent’ the vantage ghats from local youths. The ‘rent’ ranged from Rs 150 to Rs 300. By 4pm, the park had been fully taken over. Devotees from as far as Barasat, Dum Dum, Madhyamgram and Barrackpore thronged the lake.
“We come here every year. With such a huge crowd, you can feel the festive mood that is absent at other venues,” said Suran Kumar Shaw of Panchanangram. There was hardly any compliance to the order of not dumping anything into the water despite repeated announcements.
“What is the use of the puja if we cannot immerse the offerings into the water? How will it lead to pollution?” asked Kusum Devi from Baguiati. In addition to the loud music throughout the night, every year crackers are burst without any restriction on the premises. Residents fear that the park will be in a shambles once the rituals are over on Sunday.
“The football ground was also taken over by vehicles that brought in the devotees,” said Rupak Ghosh, an entrepreneur who lives near the lake. “If people are allowed to play foul freely, the place will obviously deteriorate. The puja waste, the fireworks and the loud music is definitely going to harm the ecosystem,” said environmentalist Subhash Datta.

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