Chinese cuisine

Impact of COVID guidelines on food trade from Durga Puja to Delhi

By Devashish |
October 11, 2021 7:18 PM STI

New Delhi [India], Oct 11 (ANI): Amid the sadness fueled by the COVID-19 health crisis, a silver lining beckons us as India begins the long-awaited holiday season with Durga Puja from today.
Whether you are a Bengali or friends with a Bengali, the charm and allure of pandal jumping during Durga Puja can be quite an experience. This is the time when people come together to celebrate the many colors of rich and vibrant traditions, rituals and culture.
However, the party spirit has also been tarnished this year due to the ongoing pandemic. Although the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) authorized the festivities, there are many restrictions that have led to a limited number of pandals and smaller gatherings of people.
Also, under normal conditions, the pandals offered various lip-smacking foods that are popular with many, but that is also not possible due to COVID. The DDMA had declared that no mela (fair), food stalls, processions and exhibitions would be allowed inside or outside the premises. Jhoolas (walks) and rallies would also be prohibited. The number of seats for open sites would be determined taking into account their size and social distancing standards.
This obviously had a major impact on the activity of the vendors, who set up their food stalls each year at the pandals where people came in large numbers. But as even the pandals hold low-key festivities, with some having a token system for visitors and others only allowing committee members, uncertainty has gripped whether even markets near these pandals will have. the usual number of people.
Since the guidelines make it clear that no stalls are to be set up for pandals, hence the big puzzling question is, why would people bother to come to the market?
“As in the previous year, there is uncertainty as to what the business will be this time around. There is no rally, there is no pandal and it is every time the main attraction that people from all over Delhi come here for. The first big question that we have is how many people will actually come and since last year the situation was similar, we don’t have much hope no more, ”said Prodeep Bose, owner of a non-vegetarian food stall in Market 1 of CR Park, which is the address of a large number of people in the Bengali community, and its markets are known as the plate rotating authentic Kolkata food and cuisine stalls.
Devotees and devotees from across the nation’s capital hogging the streets of CR Park after visiting Durga Puja pandals are a common sight every year during the holiday season. Normally, the popular Puja pandals of the region are swarmed with thousands of visitors during the festival.
Subhashish Basu, who runs a Chinese food stall in the area, said: “Since the business has already been affected by the pandemic and the resulting lockdown, we would therefore offer customers the option of home delivery. , either via Zomato, Swiggy or Last year, as this was the first time that such guidelines were published, several people had difficulty reaching us, which is why this time we aim to have them join us by any option available, because it’s the time of year when business is at such a high level and we don’t want to miss it. “
Further, highlighting the financial problems faced by the middle class during the pandemic, Sourabh Das, owner of a Kathi roll stand near Minto Road, said: “A major problem is that people who generally spend, the middle class , they have no money this year. To be very honest we don’t know what to expect and we just go with the flow. Usually that was supposed to be the time I used to. hire a few more workers to deal with the increase in sales due to the festival, but similar to last year due to sales restrictions we are not sure about. “
The Minto Road Puja Samity has hosted the Durga puja since the 1940s and the puja has always been a tradition, but this year, like everywhere else, it will be a low-key affair.
SS Prasad, general secretary of the Minto Road Puja Committee, said: “We will fully comply with the guidelines issued by the DDMA and, like last year, the pandal will be installed sparingly inside the Minto Road campus. Puja. There will be a small Idol of Goddess Durga which is only allowed entry to 50 people at a time. People can worship idols from afar, but those who want to perform rituals, for them entry will be restricted. “
Speaking of the stalls which are usually a big part of the puja party, he added, “Other than general stores in the area, there wouldn’t be any stalls this year either.
Additionally, during the second wave of COVID-19, Delhi was one of the most infected cities in the country, and several lives were lost as a result, so this will also be a reason behind the festival’s low-key celebration.
The festival season has started with Navratri and Durga Puja being celebrated at the same time. Then Dussehra will fall on October 15 and Diwali on November 4. (ANI)

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