M3 Features

Making Puja More Meaningful

October 10, 2013

Braille Puja Guide for the Blind

If you know a visually impaired who wishes to know how the city is celebrating Durga Puja, introduce the person to the special guidebook in Braille. National Institute of Professionals (NIP), a city-based NGO, launched this year’s Braille Durga Puja Guide on October 3 at Rotary Sadan. A separate Puja guide for the disabled and senior citizens was be launched.

The first Braille Durga Puja Guide Book was compiled by NIP in collaboration with the Forum For Durgotsab, department of social welfare, Rotary International and Public Relations Society Of India (PRSI) in 2012.

It contained information about the festival of Durga Puja, various Puja pandals and a map pointing out important Pujas in the city. The same information will also be present in the second book to be launched.

“With the Braille Durga Puja Guide, which provides a detailed map of all the leading puja pandals of Kolkata, we hope the visually impaired can indulge in pandal-hopping like the rest of the city does,” said Debojyoti Roy, secretary of NIP.

The NGO will distribute the guide among the city’s blind schools for free.

In an effort to make the festive season enjoyable for all, the organisation has asked Puja committees to engage volunteers to look after the disabled and senior citizens visiting the pandals.

“There are 175 Durga Puja committees under our forum and every year, we take the initiative to do as much as possible to make the differently-abled and senior citizens feel welcome and comfortable. This year, we have decided to provide more services to them,” said Partha Ghosh, vice president of Forum For Durgotsab, which is part of the book launch initiative.

Puja committees at Suruchi Sangha, Ekdalia, Sreebhumi, Shibmandir, Telenga Bagan and Dum Dum Park have already confirmed that they will have four volunteers and at least two wheelchairs to guide visually impaired, disabled and senior citizens.

“In the year 2010, we had introduced awards for differently-abled and senior citizen friendly pandals, on the basis of facilities provided by them, like entry, exit and crisis management. It adds to the entire experience of pandal-hopping for those who are challenged in way or the other,” added Roy.

Book a cab for Puja revelry

Never mind if you have planned to hop around pandals this Puja and all your efforts to hire a car are in vain! You have an option in hand.

Senior citizens will be getting a special discount for pre-booking taxis.

Pandal-hoppers can make a call at the office of the cab association and book a taxi. What’s more, while booking the cab, passengers would get VVIP passes for selective Puja pandals in the city.

“We have decided to rent our taxis on hourly basis this Puja. One has to call our office and book a cab. We will send the taxi to the caller’s home or any other place he prefers,” said Bimal Guha, secretary of Bengal Taxi Association.

Passengers have to pay Rs 250 for an hour and have to book the cab for a minimum of four hours.

“A cab will carry not more than four passengers and if there is a senior citizen among them, we will give a 5% discount. The senior citizen must show his age proof at the time of making payment to the driver,” added Guha.

The cab associations will also provide a bottle of mineral water to the passengers.

“We are in talks with puja committes and are procuring the passes. The service will be available around the clock,” added Guha.

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Comments (4)
Sankar Reply
October 10, 2013
Getting taxis during the Puja days is a big hassle. This is therefore a welcome relief.
Abhiroop Reply
October 10, 2013
This is a great initiative.
Mrinal Reply
October 10, 2013
It becomes difficult to hire a cab during pujas for pandal hopping. Good to know that taxis can be hired by phone.
Bitan Reply
October 10, 2013
Atleast the blind men will be able to know in details about the themes and decorations of puja pandals.
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