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Polluted waters of Hindon fail to dampen festive spirit of devotees on Chhath

Women devotees rue lack of changing facilities at the ghats; traffic chokes Ghaziabad main roads as devotees throng ghats in large numbers

noida Updated: Oct 27, 2017 14:25 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Devotees offer prayers to the Sun god on the banks of Hindon river in Ghaziabad on day 1 of Chhath, a four-day festival observed by people from eastern UP and Bihar. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Chhath was celebrated in Ghaziabad on Thursday as thousands of devotees arrived at the banks of river Hindon and offered prayers in the polluted water.

On Thursday, the city’s main roads remained choked with traffic as devotees in large numbers headed to the banks near GT Road in buses, mini trucks, carts and rickshaws.

“The festival was celebrated with great devotion, but women of our family had to stand in filthy water to offer prayers. The river remains highly polluted for the entire year. But, we will return on Friday morning to offer prayers again,” said Rupesh Jha, a resident of Arthala.

The UP irrigation department had released nearly 100 cusecs of water in the river which had dried due to the annual maintenance of the Upper Ganga Canal system.

“We had very little space (on the bank) and were confined to the cemented area. Women faced problems as they had to change their clothes in open because there are no temporary changing rooms,” a devotee Madhuri Pathak said.

Prayers were offered by citizens at nearly 46 spots identified by the the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC).

Many residents of high-rises, however, preferred to stay away from the river and offered prayers in the swimming pools of their respective societies. Such rituals were performed in many societies, including Aditya Mega City, Amrapali Village, Shipra Sun City, HRC Professional and Shipra Krishna, among others in Indirapuram and Vaishali.

Residents said they stayed away from the river due to its highly polluted water. Dozens of domestic drains and industrial effluents make way to the river from Saharanpur to Gautam Budh Nagar.

“We offer prayers to the sun and the purity of water is essential. Since the state of Hindon river’s water is known to everyone, residents in high-rises chose to perform the rituals in swimming pools with clean water. Traditionally, natural water bodies are preferred for the puja but we have no alternate,” said Ruby Kumar, a resident of Arihant Harmony in Indirapuram.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 23:47 IST