Sunday, January 16, 2022

Forcible chanda for puja on rise

Jamshedpur: Despite strict guidelines set by Jamshedpur Kendriya Durga Puja Committee cases of forcible ‘chanda’ (donations) by puja committees are being reported in city with each passing days.

Extortion in the name of ‘chanda’ for puja celebrations in the city is the torture businessmen, bus owners and even poor autorickshaw operators suffer alike every year during Durga Puja.

Peeved over allegedly forceful donations by puja committees of Adityapur, Jugsalai, Mango and Sidhgora several residents are planning to meet the SSP Anoop Mathew to lodge complains.

Though concerned over the situation the district administration has ordered a crackdown on those forcibly collecting donations for Durga puja celebrations but still situation remains the same.

The district police have instructed to arrest all those intimidating businessmen and individuals for making donations for puja.

Officials said policemen and woman constables and officers would be present in and around pandals to look out for such donations.

Bharat Jain a businessman said: “we have no other option but to pay whatever amount is written on the chanda receipt.”

According to other businessmen, local goons in almost every locality have got printed receipts in the name of fake puja committees.

“These way members of various small gangs collect donations by terrorising businessmen using the names of notorious criminals.

A number of committees also collect donations in the name of organising cultural programmes, promising to bring big names in the field of music. But in practice they save money by engaging local artists every year,” said a businessman.

Ravinder Singh a businessman said that several traders in the town have complains that they were being pressured by local puja committee members to shell out money from their pockets.

“Several puja committees have also forced us for the same. It is high time for the police to act. This is not the way pujas should be celebrated,” noted Anil Patro, another victim.

Officials of Jamshedpur Kendriya Durga Puja Committee said that though pandals can be put up with permission from civic authorities but any move to commercialise the occasion by way of prize draws and lotteries will not be allowed.

“We have already asked the puja committees not to take forcible donations. While it is more difficult to curb collection of “donations,” the police should encourage the public to lodge complaints,” noted Ram Babu Singh, secretary, Kendriya Durga Puja Samity.

Meanwhile SSP has asked the entire officers- in-charge of police stations to keep a tab on the activists engaged in forcible collections. He said that strict actions would be taken against those found to be guilty in the act.

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