Poorvanchalis in the city get ready to celebrate Chhath
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Last Updated: Friday, October 23, 2009, 09:58
New Delhi: Around 400 ghats are being readied across the city for Saturday’s Chhath Puja, the biggest festival of the 40-lakh-strong Poorvanchali population here, but high pollution level in river Yamuna could play a dampener for devouts planning to take a dip.

"Elaborate arrangement are being made all over the city to ensure a trouble-free congregation at all the ghats at a cost of around Rs 80 lakh for the two-day Chhath Puja," Congress MP Mahabal Mishra (West Delhi), who hails from Bihar, said.

He said, "Besides the 29 ghats along the river Yamuna which have been readied by the state government, over 350 ghats have been prepared all over Delhi by local people along with several Chhath Puja committees and arrangements have been made for the convenience of devotees".

Mishra, who is also Chairman of the Purvanchal Chhath Puja Samiti, said local bodies in association with government are busy in erecting tents, installing makeshift lights and making provision for drinking water around the ghats".

A large number of policemen will be deployed at all the prime ghats -- ITO ghat, Kudesia Ghat, Surya Ghat, Wazirabad Ghat, Geeta Colony, Mongolpuri, Bhalaswa-Jahangirpuri and Narela -- to ensure the safety of devotees and smooth conduct of the festival, a senior police official said.

Although the Delhi government has written to Haryana to release water in Yamuna to make the squalid river come alive in time for the festival, but it will not make much difference as the water body is highly polluted, said president of Maha Chhatha Suryanarayan Pooja Samiti Ram Krit Mahto.

Mahta said devotees have no other option than bathe in the polluted water as the puja is not complete without taking a dip in the water body in which the devotee stands performing 'arg' (an offering of betel leaves and supari) to the Sun god.

Expressing concern over the pollution in Yamuna, Mishra said the government should give special attention to cleaning the water during Chhath so that people could enjoy the rituals without any fear of getting ill.

However, he has no complaints about the funds. "This year we have managed to get a good amount of money for preparation. Besides getting funds from government, we have also collected money on our own," he said.

"Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Urban Development Minister Rajkumar Chauhan are themselves reviewing the arrangements and a permanent ghat has also been built on ITO", Mishra said, adding "Chauhan has asked civic authorities to step in with necessary arrangements with tents, lights and DJB water tankers".

Many cultural programmes, like 'Bojpuri Sangeet Samaroh', play and Jagaran, are also being organised near the ghats on the occasion, organiser of the Purvanchal Chhath samiti Munna Kaushik said.

He said Union Human Resources Minister Kapil Sibal had yesterday inaugurated a 'kalash yatra' at Shakurpur in Northwest Delhi in which 101 women had participated and today a jagaran will be held.

During the yatra, decorated elephants were paraded.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, October 23, 2009, 09:58

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