Tight vigil at Yamuna ghats during Durga idol immersion
The Delhi government will keep a tight vigil at the ghats of Yamuna river this year to prevent any untoward incidents during idol immersions after Durga Puja at the end of September.
Durga Puja, also called Durgotsava and Navaratri, is an annual Hindu or Bengali Hindu festival in the Indian subcontinent that reveres the goddess Durga. The festival marks the battle of goddess Durga with the shape-shifting, deceptive and powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious. It will be celebrated from September 26-30 this year.
The government’s move comes in the wake of four deaths in the Yamuna and the western Yamuna link canal earlier this month during Ganesh idol immersions. While two people drowned in the river at Sonia Vihar, one man drowned at Shastri Park while another was washed away in the link canal at Bawana. Even last year, three people had drowned in the Yamuna during the Ganesh idol immersions.
“The incidents which took place during the Ganesh immersions were not at the designated ghats. We have a number of sites for safe immersions and ask people to use them. The ghats that we want people to use are Kudsia, Geeta, Haathi, Shyam, Kalindi Kunj, Mayur Vihar and Geeta Colony. For the Durga Puja idol immersions, divers from the National Disaster Response Force will be asked to keep a strict vigil. Boats, life jackets and special rescue swimmers will be deployed at all the immersion sites,” a senior Delhi government official told Hindustan Times.
Idols from nearly 200 Durga Pujas from across Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad are immersed at different Yamuna ghats every year.
According to the official, a meeting of different government departments will be called next week to chalk out a roadmap for this year’s immersions. Officials of the irrigation and flood control department, Delhi Police, Delhi Traffic Police, the three municipal corporations, BSES discoms, Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS), Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, fire department and Delhi Jal Board, among others, will participate in it.
“The fire department will keep its personnel posted at all the ghats. The police will also be asked to deploy sufficient personnel so that they can frisk people coming to these ghats. We will have all required arrangements in place,” the official said.
Volunteers will also be deployed to ensure recycling of flowers while disposing idols at the ghats. An NGO will also take the responsibility of collecting all Puja materials from the immersion sites so that these are not dumped in the river, he said.