Many of the award-winning theme pandals of 2023 have been sold to organisers of Jagaddhatri Puja in Chandernagore and Rishra, and Kartick Puja in Katwa.According to the organisers, some of the installations may change hands a second time and get used for Saraswati Puja andDurga Puja in the districts or neighbouring states next year.
“The offers started pouring in from Ashtami after we received some of the most prestigious awards this year,” said Somen Dutta, general secretary of Kashi Bose Lane Durga Puja Committee.
Aditi Chakraborty, a leading theme artist in Kolkata, believes selling an entire pandal or parts of it is a reason to cheer. One of her pandals, based on the theme of “Moksha”, at Bakul Bagan Sarbojanin was sold to Nemai Tirtha Ghat Kali Puja committee in Sheoraphuli.
Haridevpur’s 41 Pally’s puja theme “Abogahon” — based on Varanasi and its sadhus — by theme artist Samrat Bhattacharyya was sold to Protibeshi Kali Puja of Teghoria in Kolkata. “I am waiting for a final confirmation to resell it to a Durga Puja committee in Ranchi for next year,” said Bhattacharya.
The high recycle value of theme pandals has made many big-budget Kolkata pujas switch to more durable iron-and-steel structures from the traditional bamboo and wooden frames. The colossal pandal of Tala Prattoy, which used about 50 tonnes of iron, is now being dismantled in a systematic manner.
The entire procedure will take at least 45 more days to complete. “Methodical dismantling can give a return of up to 50% of purchase value,” said Susanta Paul, the theme artist. Many puja organisers this year have engaged structural engineers to supervise the dismantling. The Bosepukur Sitala Mandir Durga Puja pandal, which was made out of 12,000 iron garden chairs, was sold to a scrap dealer recently. “Many Jagaddhatri Puja committees had approached us but we were unable to make a deal because of shifting hazards of the colossal structures,” said club secretary Kajal Sarkar.
Hatibagan Nabin Pally, which was a sensational hit this Durga Puja with its theme of Sukumar Ray’s “Abol Tabol (a Bengali collection of children’s poems and rhymes)” and bagged almost all top awards this year, however, has turned down all offers. “There were numerous requests to sell our pandal, but we said no. The concept cannot be repeated because we had painted the entire para on the lines of the central theme,” said chief organiser Dipta Ghosh.