Report by Kahnu Nanda; Jagatsinghpur: The Biswakarma Puja was started in the port town of Paradip with traditional fervour and gaiety on Sunday.
It is a unique instance where every community people get themselves involved in the yearly Hindu festival held in Paradip, be they Hindus, Muslims, Christians or persons of any other religion.
According to police records available, no incident of communal tension, violence and law and order situation ever happened during the Biswakarma Puja celebration in Paradip over the last four decades.
The Puja is held with equal zest in Rahim Chacha’s motor garage, Thomas Bhai’s fabrication unit, Gupta Maruwari’s leather shop, Harpal Singh’s diesel work shop and Raju Reddey’s trawler repairing unit in Paradip.
The Biswakarma Puja celebration in Paradip has a long history. When the port started in the year 1963 seven people from different communities had joined hands to organize the celebration aiming to establish communal harmony among residents living inside the town. The seed of communal amity sown by them has grown into a massive tree later.
Meanwhile, the Paradip Biswakarma Puja has been accorded prominence in Odisha like Dussehra in Cuttack, Laxmi Puja in Dhenkanal, Kali Puja in Bhadrak, Sital Sasthi in Sambalpur and Thakurani Yatra in Ganjam district and Ganesh Puja in Talcher, added trade union leader Santosh Patnaik.
The Biswakarma Puja is relevant to Paradip because Hindu god Biswkarma is named as god of construction. The lord is the reigning deity of the vast industrial belt which houses some biggest plants and industries. So according to Hindu belief, the construction god is worshiped during the Biswakarma Puja ever year which falls on day of Aswa Panchami in the month of Awasina in Odia almanac and in the middle of month of September each year.
The people believe that the legendry construction god’s blessing can help avoid hurdles, misfortune, mishap and disaster during the year and maintain harmony among people and communities. So Paradip residents organize Biswakarma Puja each year, informs veteran trade union leader Sudhakar Mantry.
This year also, Paradip town was fully decorated for the Biswakarma Puja which began on September 17 and people are enjoying the Puja in about 50 big and small Puja pandals. The festivity will continue for one week with a mass immersion ceremony marking its end.
Big industrial houses like Paradip Port Trust, PPL, IFFCO, Paradip Carbon, L&T, ESSAR, Indian Oil Corporation, Cargil India and many trade unions, and some small industrial houses are observing the Puja in Paradip.
The size and theme of the pandals during the Viswakarma Puja depend upon the fancy of the craftsmen and organisers. Many decorated pandals symbolizing different communities have been erected in various parts of the town. Events like musical night, cultural function, circus, opera performance by prominent Yatra troupes and fairs are organized during the celebration.
The civil administration and local police have made elaborate arrangements for traffic and crowd management. . CCTV cameras have been fitted at various points to keep a vigil on the crowd. As many as 10 platoon police forces have been deployed supporting by 44 police officers, 54 constables, 84 home guards leading by senior cops, informed Para dip police station IIC Subhransu Nayak. Police control room, medical centers and information centers have been opened to help the public. The Paradip Port Trust and the Paradeep Municipality have extended their full cooperation for the celebration of the puja, including supply of electricity, drinking water and mobile toilets etc.