CUTTACK/ BHUBANESWAR: Decked with exquisite pandals and beautiful light decorations, the Millennium City of Cuttack is all set to host the grandest festival of the season - Durga Puja. While artisans are busy completing the welcome arches, decorators have decked up every corner of the city with impressive lighting arrangements, thereby adding sparkle to the festivity. Organisers have spent a huge amount of money on innovative light works using LED lights.
The entire Badambadi stretch is replete with rice light strings and the decorations include three massive light gates in addition to the replica of ISKCON temple at Mayapur in West Bengal. Similar decorations can be seen at Dolomundai, Bajrakabati and Haripur where five light gates have come up apart from the roadside decorations. Apparently, each of the puja committees spends between `2 lakh and `5 lakh on illumination. With 48 big pujas being organised in the city, the total figure hovers above `70 lakh during the fourday autumn festival.
Malgodown Puja Committee is decorating the entire stretch with rice lights and five tall light gates have been erected at the cost of `four lakh. At Khan Nagar, 10 light gates have come up on a stretch of four km. Ganesh Kumar Das, chief artisan from Cuttack who designed lighting arrangements in Khan Nagar, says he has used various mythological themes to design the gates. At Jobra, Chauliaganj, Sheikh Bazaar, Ranihaat and Mangalabaag, light decorations have come up in every nook and cranny.
Similarly in Bhubaneswar, replicas of temples, Dhauli Shanti Stupa and many more heritage sites will give Durga Puja a festive glow. At Saheed Nagar, the Puja committee has erected five massive light gates themed on Sai Baba and Goddess Durga and the budget for light decorations here in `four lakh. At Jharpada and Old Station Bazaar, eight and four majestic light gates have come up. In Nayapalli and Rasulgarh, Puja committees have set up five gates each. While there are 156 small and big Durga Puja pandals in Cuttack, the number is 180 in Bhubaneswar.
On the other hand, CESU authorities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar claimed that squads have been formed to check illegal use of power by Puja committees during the festival. Officer in charge of CESU (City Distribution Division, Cuttack) AK Bisoi said as LEDs are used for light decorations, not much power is being consumed by the organisers. Each Puja committees consume between 20 KW and 22 KW of power through light decorations every day, he said and added that use of bulbs and traditional lights increases the power consumption by five times. CESU Superintending Engineer, Bhubaneswar Circle-I Sukanta Kumar Swain said each Puja committee consumes an average of 20 KW power every day and the total consumption in the four days is around 3.6 MW. He informed that eight regular and three special squads have been formed to check illegal connections.