Poorvanchalis in the city get ready to celebrate Chhath

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.

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