COVID-19: West Bengal government to encourage fairs, expos to encourage livelihood of artisans

The art of livelihood, despite the pandemic has to be encouraged and practised, West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said on Saturday adding that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has mentioned this to officials on numerous occasions. The Chief Secretary said that the State government is encouraging artists and performers of jatras and different folk arts to ensure that their livelihood is protected.

“There is no ceiling on open grounds for melas, exhibitions, expos and musical performances if people are maintaining physical distancing and considering the area of the open ground,” Mr. Bandyopadhyay said. The Chief Secretary said that after the festival season and resumption of train services the State government was actively considering providing an opportunity to artists to continue with their livelihood.

“We have told District Magistrates, Superintendent of Police, Commissioners of Police through video conference and meetings many times that folk artists and artisans should be encouraged . They should not face any obstacles in organizing their performances within the norms of physical distancing,” he said. The onset of winter sees a number of festivals and musical performances in Kolkata and elsewhere every year.

Meanwhile, a number of single screen cinema owners are considering closing their halls in Kolkata because there are not enough viewers to sustain their operations. The cinema halls are allowed to operate with 50 % capacity with a maximum limit of 200.

3,639 new COVID-19 cases

In the past 24 hours, 53 deaths were reported in the State due to COVID-19 infections taking the fatalities to 7,976. The state recorded 3,639 new case taking the tally to 4,52,770. The discharge rate in the State increased to 92.63%. The percentage of positive cases out of samples tested increased to 8.26%. The State tested about 44,208 samples in the past 24 hours and the total samples tested so far is 54.78 lakh.

State unit BJP president Dilip Ghosh charged that there was an attempt to limit the daily tests to 45,000 so that the daily cases do not rise above 4,000. “Odisha and Bihar are testing about one lakh samples. If one lakh test is conducted here then the number of cases will cross 10,000,” he added.

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