Amid Chhath festivity, focus on pollution control


After a hiatus of two years due to Covid-19, thousands of devotees on Sunday flocked to ghats and makeshift ponds across the country to seek the blessings of the Sun God as part of Chhath Puja.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur and Varanasi, a large number of women clad in sarees were seen standing knee-deep in water at ghats, worshipping the Sun God.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath attended Chhath Pooja celebrations at Gomti Ghat in Lucknow.
While in the national capital, a massive number of devotees thronged to ITO Ghat to offer prayers, and devotees took a holy dip in the water as part of the Chhath Puja at a pond in Vinod Nagar.
A huge crowd of devotees also gathered at the national capital’s Kalindi Kunj ghat to offer prayers on Chhath Puja.
The festive fervor gripped the ‘land of forest’ Jharkhand too, as devotees offered prayers at Hatania Talab in Ranchi. In Bihar, women were seen standing in the water, wearing long ‘sindoor’ with orange colour on their faces, and offering fruits and sweets to the Sun God at JP Setu Ghat in Patna. A huge crowd of devotees gathered to offer prayers at Juhu in Mumbai to mark Chhath Puja.
In West Bengal, devotees offered prayers to the setting sun at Takra Ghat in Kolkata. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee offered prayers on the occasion of Chhath Puja at Kolkata’s Dahi Ghat. The Chhath Puja is celebrated on the sixth day of the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar, which also happens to be the fourth day after Diwali.
Hyderabad also witnessed a large number of devotees celebrating the Chhath Puja at Tank Bund.
Meanwhile, Siliguri in West Bengal witnessed a massive violation of National Green Tribunal (NGT) directions as there are many people making illegal Chhath ghats on various river beds across the city. It has been found that excavators are creating artificial ghats in the middle rivers. It has also been found that the excavators are lifting the soil, creating makeshift bamboo structures for the puja scheduled to be held on 30 October and 31.
Although, the civil administration and police administration made necessary safety arrangements on river ghats to avoid any unwanted incidents during the Chhath Puja.
The developments have now become a matter of concern for the city administration, especially after the tragic deaths of eight people in a flash flood during Durga Puja immersion in Mal river.
Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) and administration held preparatory meetings with the Chhath Puja committees. Siliguri Municipal Corporation Mayor Goutam Deb said, “We had a meeting with the Chhath Puja committees where we informed all about the restrictions. Few are still not following the guidelines. Police will take the issue as early as possible.”
Manoj Verma, a devotee told ANI, “A few devotees have confusion over the NGT guidelines. So they are in the middle of the river. Except for them, all are following the guidelines given by the administrations. Moreover, we all got a lesson from the Mal incident recently.”
In Uttar Pradesh, the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday stressed on cleanliness of rivers. The CM also urged the people to celebrate the festival in a way that is environmental-friendly and that does not cause pollution in any