NEW DELHI: Environment Gopal Rai and other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs on Tuesday took stock of Chhath preparations at the artificial ponds being dug at the city ghats for public celebration of the festival on November 10. The BJP-ruled municipal corporations too inspected the ghats insisting on doing rituals on the banks of the Yamuna despite the ban.
Rai inspected Chhath preparations at Bhalswa Lake, and said that facilities from tents to CCTV cameras have been organised on site. AAP senior leader and MLA from Kalkaji, Atishi also inspected the ghats being readied under her constituency at Giri Nagar, Gurudwara Park, Prawasi Park, Ward 91, Astha Kunj Park and Karpuri Thakur Camp.
On Monday, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia had announced that 800 sites in the city are being readied for devotees to perform Chhath Puja. “Tents are being built, CCTV cameras installed and public conveniences are being arranged. At Bhalswa Ghat, preparations have been made for thousands. Remaining sites will be ready by Tuesday evening,” said Rai.
While inspecting the preparations, Rai told reporters that the BJP leaders threatening to perform Chhath rituals at the banks of the Yamuna despite restrictions may go ahead, as the prohibitions are controlled by the L-G Anil Baijal, who is the chairperson of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA). “CM Kejriwal has not imposed any of these restrictions.
So if the L-G permits them and the police supports them, what’s the hassle? As far as the health quotient of the Yamuna water goes, I have said it before that the flow in the river comes from Haryana. The water in this lake, which is Delhi’s own, is so clean. Work is being done to ensure a clean and healthy practice for those celebrating,” said Rai.
Mukesh Suryan, SDMC mayor, on Tuesday inspected the ghats in the Najafgarh zone, and said. “Covid protocols will have to be followed. We will allow people to perform rituals at the river banks. The government cannot pick and choose in celebrating the festival.”
Discord between Opposing sides
On September 30, the DDMA banned Chhath celebrations in public, even as it allowed Durga Puja and Dussehra. The decision led to BJP leaders sitting on several protests. In an October 28 order, DDMA allowed public Chhath celebrations at designated places, directing that celebrations should not be held along the river banks.