Delhi CM Kejriwal approves proposal for Chhath celebrations at Yamuna ghats
Celebrations at the ghats were banned last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and this year, the revenue department had put up a proposal seeking approval for the festivities.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has approved a proposal by revenue minister Kailash Gahlot to allow Chhath puja celebrations at ghats of the Yamuna. Celebrations at the ghats were banned last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and this year, the revenue department had put up a proposal seeking approval for the festivities.
Kejriwal tweeted, “Chhath puja will be celebrated as before on the ghats of Yamuna. Orders have been given to all the officers that all arrangements be made to ensure that Yamuna is not polluted.”
The Delhi government said in a statement, “In view of the approval of the CM, directions have been issued to all the district magistrates that additional measures may be deployed for ensuring that no polluting material is immersed in the river. Measures including banners, posters, audio messages at sites, deployment of CDVs (civil defence volunteers) may be employed for ensuring the guidelines issued by the NGT (National Green Tribunal).”
Chhath, celebrated after Diwali, involves the offering of “arghya” by fasting devotees to the Sun god in knee-deep water.
Over the last decade, Chhath has become one of the major festivals in Delhi with Purvanchalis -- people belonging to areas known as the Purvanchal -- accounting for over one-third of Delhi’s population of around 20 million, according to government estimates and migration data from Census 2011.
A Delhi government official said that various orders and instructions issued by the NGT and the National Mission for Clean Ganga had been brought to the notice of the government. “The district administration will also ensure that messages for following the guidelines for cleanliness of Yamuna, apart from other usual messages, may also be displayed on LED systems at all Chhath ghats on Yamuna,” the official said, adding that Chhath puja is traditionally celebrated only by offering water to the Sun god, and no other material is required to be offered or immersed in the water body.
Earlier this month, the Delhi government had announced that it will fund community celebrations of Chhath puja at 1,100 places in the Capital and is planning to spend ₹25 crore for the same.
“Due to the pandemic restrictions over the last two years, the Delhi government could not take up large-scale preparations for community Chhath celebrations and a lot of people had to celebrate at home. However, since we have come to power, we have taken Chhath celebrations to a grand level in Delhi,” Kejriwal had said.
Saying that Chhath was a “mere formality” for the state governments before the AAP assumed charge in Delhi, Kejriwal said that there were barely 69 sites where Chhath was celebrated in 2014. “The government back then spent a mere ₹2.5 crore [on the festivities]. But now, we will celebrate Chhath at a large scale across 1,100 sites. The Delhi government will bear all the cost of this celebration, and we have earmarked ₹25 crore for the purpose,” he had said.