Eye on Purvanchalis: Delhi govt starts preparations for Chhath, Kejriwal to oversee
Delhi has more than 40 lakh migrant workers from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh who celebrate Chhath Puja every year. They are considered a major vote bank by political parties and often decide the fate of electoral contestsdelhi Updated: Oct 25, 2017 13:36 IST
The Delhi government, under the watchful eyes of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet of ministers, will oversee the Chhath Puja arrangements in the city this year.
Delhi’s rural development minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday said that the government had chalked out a plan under which the arrangements made at all the ghats was to be supervised by a team of public representatives and officials from concerned departments.
“The MLAs, sub-divisional magistrates and officials in the irrigation and flood control department will be on special duty on October 26 and 27 at all Chhath Puja sites. The chief minister will inspect Puja ghats on October 27, while MLAs, SDMs, assistant engineers and junior engineers of the concerned departments will check the preparedness on Chhath Puja ghats on October 26,” Rai told reporters.
Delhi has more than 40 lakh migrant workers from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh, known as Purvanchalis, who celebrate Chhath Puja every year. The Purvanchalis are considered as a major vote bank by all the parties and often decide the fate of electoral contests.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on its part, said as many as 1.5 lakh party workers would work in collaboration with the three municipal corporations to make adequate arrangements for Chhath devotees.
Manoj Tiwari, the BJP’s Delhi chief, had participated in a cleanliness drive at a ghat in Sonia Vihar on Sunday afternoon, days after, AAP’s Gopal Rai, a prominent Purvanchali leader, reviewed preparations at Kudesia Ghat, Kashmere Gate.
“There will be 565 sites where devotees can perform Chhath Puja on Thursday. The number of ghats this year will be almost double compared to last year’s figure of 268 ghats,” Rai said on Tuesday.
“The government will spend Rs 20 crore in making arrangements for Chhath puja, which will include doctors, life guards, and disaster management teams being on standby at all the ghats to avoid any untoward incidents,” the minister added.
The BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation, however, blamed the government for not putting in enough preparations .
“The government is politicising the festival by cutting down on funds for the festival. We are looking after the regular cleanliness and other arrangements with the help of councillors,” said Preety Agarwal, Mayor, North Delhi Municipal Corporation
The corporation, officials said, has set up mobile toilets, adequate lighting, mobile dispensaries besides carrying out fogging facilities at 60 ghats under its jurisdiction.
The Delhi Congress, too, blamed both AAP and the BJP for politicising the festival.
The party claimed that when it was in power in Delhi it used to start preparations for Chhath three months in advance. The present Delhi government, it claiemd was making last minute preparations.
“The AAP government in Delhi and the BJP-ruled MCDs should make proper arrangements for Chhat Puja. The Chhat puja samitis, which owe allegiance to the AAP government are being given sufficient funds while other samitis are being discriminated against,” said Sharmistha Mukherjee, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson.