In a first, the Delhi government will make budgetary provisions for construction of permanent Chhath ghats across the city.
The decision to provide dedicated funds in the budget to create permanent structures for Chhath—the most popular festival among Purvanchalis---comes months ahead of the municipal elections.
The migrant population from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh---popularly known as Purvanchalis—has emerged to be the core vote base of the Aam Aadmi Party in the city. In the current assembly, around a dozen AAP members are from Purvanchal.
Labour minister Gopal Rai, who also heads the flood and irrigation department which will implement the project, said he will convene a meeting over the issue on February 10 to finalise the locations of Chatth ghats.
“Besides department officials, party legislators will also attend the meeting. The legislators will propose the locations. The officials will be directed to prepare estimates of the whole project. Accordingly, funds will be allocated for the project in the upcoming budget,” Rai said.
The minister said work will be completed in a time-bound manner and all ghats will be ready before of the festival later this year. Rai said he has decided to form a special monitoring committee, which will review the project every fortnight.
Last November, the Delhi government had doubled the Chhath ghats, on Yamuna bank and other water bodies across the city, to about 350 where the revenue and the flood and irrigation department made special arrangements for the worshippers.
AAP won big in areas with a large purvanchali voter base. In Delhi, the Purvanchali vote base is crucial, as was shown by BJP when it fielded actor/singer Manoj Tewari from the north east Delhi parliamentary constituency. Tiwari is now heading the BJP unit in Delhi.
Some reports say around 10 lakh people — originally from Bihar — voted for AAP in the assembly polls in February.
Meanwhile, Rai felicitated 15 engineers of his department for ‘exemplary’ work executed over the past year.
Rai said the performance was rated as per the appreciation certificate issued by the area MLAs for all development projects carried under the jurisdiction of the officers who were felicitated at Delhi secretariat.
“A system has been advised in the department wherein area legislators give endorsement letters against quality of work done in their area. A special committee evaluates the work accordingly. The initiative is an effort to ensures accountability of officials towards the elected representatives,” said Rai.
Besides maintenance of major drains, the flood and irrigation department executes all development works in the rural areas, unauthorised colonies and projects under MLA LAD funds.