The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has earmarked seven permanent ghats and built 44 temporary ones along 16 water bodies in the city for Chhath Puja devotees. The permanent ghats are located in Nonadanga, near Fortis Hospital, and in Patuli.
The municipality on Sunday said it would appeal to people to observe the puja near their home and avoid large gatherings amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Sources said the civic body would soon urge devotees to avoid the Rabindra Sarobar and the Subhas Sarobar lakes, keeping National Green Tribunal (NGT) directives in mind. The city administration, with the help of local ward coordinators, is reportedly trying to make arrangements for people to celebrate the festival locally.
“We will encourage Chhath devotees to either observe Chhath Puja in the Ganga if it is close to their home or limit themselves to ghats temporarily built for Chhath Puja. It is pandemic time and we must avoid gatherings,” said a KMC official.
Sources said the civic body was waiting for the Supreme Court’s order before taking a final call on the matter. According to them, state Urban Development Minister and Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) chairperson Firhad Hakim recently held a meeting on the matter.
Environmentalist Subhas Datta moved the National Green Tribunal in 2015, complaining about pollution of Rabindra Sarobar allegedly caused by Chhath rituals that include pouring oil and ghee in the water. After that, the tribunal ordered a ban on all religious and cultural activities at the lake, but Chhath rituals continued there as local people did not heed the order.
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