Bhubaneswar: With the state gearing up for the Durga puja festivity hardly a month away, Odisha Police on Saturday intensified its effort to check forcible collection of puja chanda or donations across the state.
State Director General of Police (DGP) KB Singh has issued a circular in this regard asking Superintendent Polices (SPs) across districts to take stringent action against those who are forcibly collecting donation.
All police stations and Inspector Generals were also instructed to register extortion cases against those who collect donations forcefully.
Meanwhile, Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Commissionerate of Police has decided to adopt zero tolerance in this matter and will go tough against persons and puja committees indulged in the wrongful practice.
“We are requesting people to inform us if someone forcefully ask them to pay puja chanda and we will take stern action against them,” said Police Commissioner Y.B. Khurania.
The DGP issued circular after the private bus owners’ association threatened to halt bus services during puja protesting the forcible donation collection.
“If the practice of forceful collection of puja chanda continues then we will be forced to stop bus services during the festive time,” said Barada Prasanna Acharya, treasurer of All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association, after an emergency meeting.
Notably, there were many incidents in the past where bus operators, truckers and general public had to face the wrath of anti-socials if they failed to pay the donations as per the demand of some puja committee members.
It appears as if these festivals have turned out to be a seasonal income for some miscreants with the bus, autorickshaw and truck drivers being their soft targets who have to pass through a road several times in a day and every time they have to fork out money.