Kolkata: Like several other parts of India, Kolkata too celebrated Chhath Puja with fervour. The banks of river Ganga witnessed a huge footfall as people came with crackers and banyans to celebrate.
Chhath Puja is mainly celebrated among the Bihari community. NewsGram reporter Soutrik Das spoke to a few Biharis to know their feelings about the way this Bihari festival has gained popularity in Bengal.
“I am living in Bengal for 20 years and celebrating Chhath Puja here is no less than that in Bihar,” said Vikas Jaiswal. “Like other festivities, Chhath Puja gives a message of unity. We distribute sweets and thekuas among every community. I think the city of joy welcomes this grand festival of Biharis in their own way”.
Shiven Singh, a 1st-year student of Bhawanipore College said, “My family belongs to Chapra, but every year we came to Bengal to celebrate Chhath Puja as our relatives reside here. We celebrate the puja with all our Bengali friends in Kolkata.”
The Chhath Puja brings together all sections of the society and turns Kolkata into a little Bihar, where everyone celebrates their grand festival with Bhojpuri songs and launda dance.
Cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to batter the Indian subcontinent in decades, uprooted trees and triggered rains as it entered West Bengal post midnight on Saturday, hours after making landfall and causing havoc in Odisha on Friday.
No loss of life or any injury has been reported so far.
According to the Meteorological department, the extremely severe cyclonic storm relatively weakened after entering coastal Odisha and transformed into “very severe” as it approached Bengal.
“The severe cyclonic storm Fani entered Bengal at 12.30 a.m. through Odisha’s Balasore. It crossed Kharagpur packing a wind of 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph,” Regional Meteorological Centre’s Deputy Director General Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, said.
The storm is now lying close to Arambagh in Hooghly district, and is 40 km west of Kolkata.
“It is likely to continue further in north, north east direction, and reach the east Burdwan-Hooghly border, and through Nadia go to Bangladesh on Saturday afternoon, weakening into a cyclonic storm, after having triggered rains,” Bandyopadhyay said.
Fani lashed cities and towns in coastal Bengal including Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur, Sandehskhali and Contai while the effects of the storm could also be felt in cities like Kharagpur and Burdwan as trees were uprooted and metal hoardings gave way.
Parts of Kolkata and the suburbs also received moderate to heavy rainfall since Friday afternoon.
The epicentre of the storm is expected to hit the city in the early hours on Saturday.
The rains would continue till early Saturday.
In the sea resort of Digha, the win speed reached 70 kmph in some areas, in Frazerganj the wind velocity was between 60 and 70 kmph.
Kharagpur has so far recorded 95 mm rainfall, which will continue for the next two to three hours.