A day after huge political back and forth over Chhat Puja devotees bathing in toxic foam on Yamuna river Ghats in Delhi, authorities stepped up efforts to prevent similar incidents. The Delhi government, under heavy criticism from Opposition parties BJP and Congress, on Tuesday deployed 15 boats to remove the froth with the help of ropes. Meanwhile, barricades have been erected at key sites to prevent to prevent the hazardous foam from floating towards the Ghats. Police is also on guard to implement the ban on celebrating Chhath at Yamuna river sites.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in its order on October 29 had allowed Chhath celebrations at “designated sites”, barring the banks of the Yamuna. However, concerning visuals of devotees bathing in the toxic white foam – a sign of the hazardous level of pollution in the Yamuna – initiated a political slugfest over the issue, with the BJP blaming the AAP and previous Congress governments of not doing enough to clean the river over the years.
“Fifteen teams have been deployed to remove the foam in the river. The exercise will continue till the current frothing episode comes to an end,” a Delhi official told PTI. Officials said the idea entailed the deployment of boats parallel to each other and then roping the foam.
An official, however, termed it a “temporary” measure. “The problem will persist till sewage treatment plants in Delhi are upgraded to meet the new standards. There is no immediate solution to it.” The foam is just the manifestation of the water quality of the Yamuna and it is a long-term issue, he said.
According to experts, the primary reason behind the formation of foam in the Yamuna is high phosphate content in detergents used in dyeing industries, dhobi ghats and households in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
No devotees were seen at the ITO Yamuna Ghat as of 11 pm on Wednesday, CNN-News18 reported. Barricades have been to stop toxic foam from floating towards the ghat in Kalindi Kunj, news agency ANI reported. “Chhath celebrations are not allowed at Yamuna ghats. Few devotees who came here have been asked to leave by the police,” Kalindi Kunj Chhath Pooja Samiti President Vikas Rai told ANI.
Delhi Police personnel were also seen dispersing crowds gathered at the Yamuna ghat near Kalindi Kunj.
BJP Protests Dampened Chhatt Festivities
Meanwhile, BJP MP Parvesh Verma reached the ITO with supporters in protest against the ban on Chhatt festivities at Yamuna ghats. “The Delhi government has again called Chhath Puja committees and warned against celebrating Chhath at Yamuna Ghat tomorrow. Tomorrow from 11 am till the completion of Chhath Puja, I will stay at ITO Yamuna Ghat and see who stops the brothers and sisters of Purvanchal from celebrating Chhath,” the leader had earlier said in a tweet.
दिल्ली सरकार द्वारा कल दुबारा छठ पूजा समितियों को बुला कर यमुना घाट पर छठ ना मनाने की चेतावनी दी गई हैं। कल सुबह 11 बजे से छठ पूजा सम्पन्न होने तक मैं ITO यमुना घाट पर रहूंगा और देखूंगा कौन पूर्वांचल के भाई-बहनों को छठ मनाने से रोकता हैं । छठी मैया की जय— Parvesh Sahib Singh (@p_sahibsingh) November 9, 2021
BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya, among other party workers, also shared a video of frustrated Chhath devotees who were being disallowed from celebrating the festival at Yamuna sites.
अरविंद केजरीवाल के खिलाफ छठ श्रद्धालुओं का गुस्सा अब सड़कों पर उतर आया है।जिस तरह सिवल डिफेंस कर्मियों को भेज कर छठ के लिए बनाए गए घाट तोड़े गये और बहनों को छठ मनाने से रोक गया, उसके बाद ये तो होना ही था। pic.twitter.com/4goeQUTQGp
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 10, 2021
“The anger of Chhath devotees against Arvind Kejriwal has now come on the streets. Just as the ghats built for Chhath were broken by sending civil defense personnel and sisters were stopped from celebrating Chhath; this was bound to happen,” he said.