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Ghaziabad: A filthy Hindon awaits Chhath devotees

Devotees from Ghaziabad will have to make do with the unhygienic conditions on the banks of river Hindon and its contaminated water when they offer their prayers there for this year’s Chhath Puja

noida Updated: Nov 16, 2015 17:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Chhath Puja,Ghaziabad,Hindon river
Municipal commissioner Abdul Samad and state women’s commission member Rajdevi Chaudhary (with brooms) at the Hindon river bank on Sunday. Later, they were confronted by angry activists who said that the officials were trying to show that they were making efforts to clean the bank only for the cameras and they failed to do anything for months.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Devotees from Ghaziabad will have to make do with the unhygienic conditions on the banks of river Hindon and its contaminated water when they offer their prayers there for Chhath Puja. The annual festival is being held on November 17 and 18 this year.

On Sunday, senior district officials arrived at the banks of the river for an inspection. However, before they could launch a cleaning drive and get photos clicked with brooms in their hands, activists from various organisations, who were also present at the spot, raised slogans and prevented them from doing so.

“They have shown a lax attitude towards the sentiments attached with the festival. The river banks are filled with filth and women (who mainly perform the puja) will have to offer prayers in the waters contaminated with industrial discharge and sewage. Officials give assurances every time, but we are still compelled to offer prayers in these filthy surroundings year after year,” said Archana Singh, who was present at the spot with the activists.

The banks of the river Hindon are presently choked with stones, bricks, broken pots, puja material, idols, cloth, and garbage.

Activists and devotees said that they have been pursuing the matter with officials since September and have sent letters on the issue to the principal secretary of irrigation, the district magistrate and even the chief minister. “District officials assured us of holding a meeting on the matter, but we were never called. Now they are trying to make some meaningless arrangements at the eleventh hour to show that they put in the efforts,” said Rakesh Tiwari from Purabia Jankalyan Parishad.

Members of Hindu Raksha Dal also joined the protest and argued with the officials present over the prevailing conditions.

“We will only be satisfied if the officials themselves offer prayers standing in the filthy water and take a dip inside like the devotees will have to do,” said Pinki Chaudhary, a member of the organisation.

The protest subsided only after an assurance by officials that immediate cleaning of the banks and release of some water into the river will take place before Chhath Puja.

“We have got some water released into the river and more is expected in a day or two. Other than that, we cannot do much about the water quality. We have also ordered for immediate cleaning of the banks by the municipal corporation,” additional district magistrate Priti Jaiswal said.

“We are putting up hoardings at 10 places, informing people that throwing garbage into the river is prohibited and warrants action against the offender,” said Dr RK Yadav, city health officer.

However, corporation officials admitted that they have been unable to penalise anyone till now for dumping waste into the river.

First Published: Nov 16, 2015 01:14 IST