Updated: November 9, 2021 8:09:34 am
On day 1 of Chhath Puja, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said 800 ghats have been set up for the festival with necessary amenities and asked people to celebrate with precautions. “Despite Covid, we decided to celebrate Chhath Puja in full swing. Till 2015, there used to be 80-90 ghats which were set up by BJP and Congress samitis,” he said.
Ever since AAP came to power, he said, more such arrangements have been made: “This year, with the help of the government, people have set up tents at ghats. Besides this, arrangements have been made for water, security, LED display, mikes, etc.”
He added that those from Purvanchal make up a significant part of Delhi’s population.
Several devotees flocked to the froth-filled Yamuna and took a dip in the Kalindi Kunj and ITO ghats despite the ban on festivities on the river bank. The ban prompted a war of words once again between the AAP and BJP, with Northeast Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari alleging that it was imposed because the Delhi government wanted to hide visuals of a polluted Yamuna from people.
The DDMA, chaired by L-G Anil Baijal, banned Chhath puja on the riverfront owing to Covid.
Tiwari, who visited the Kalindi Kunj ghat, said, “We know now Chhath Puja was banned by CM Arvind Kejriwal as he wanted to hide these visuals from the media. He wanted people to not see how despite being in power for seven years, he has not done anything to keep Yamuna clean.”
West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma, who visited the ITO ghat along with devotees and performed puja in violation of the ban, said: “If Chhath puja is not celebrated on the ghats, where will it be celebrated? It is the duty of the government to ensure ghats are cleaned, but Kejriwal only wants to hide his incompetence… People of Delhi can’t celebrate Diwali… Chhath as the government has failed to control air and water pollution in all these years. This won’t be tolerated.”
The Delhi government hit back, with DJB vice-chairperson Raghav Chadha blaming UP and Haryana for the pollution: “It appears the governments of UP and Haryana are not bothered about how they are releasing untreated wastewater into Yamuna. The DJB has been constantly working to enhance and augment its STP capacities so untreated effluents are not released into the Yamuna.”
“The Okhla Barrage is under the UP Irrigation Department, and because of its lackadaisical attitude, water hyacinth plants grow all around… when these hyacinth plants decompose, they release surfactants like phosphates… When this water, filled with huge amounts of surfactants like phosphates, falls at Kalindi Kunj from a height, it produces foam, which gradually accumulates and floats on the surface of the water. This is difficult to remove…,” he said.
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