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Chhath Puja celebrations leave trail of unholy mess in Chandigarh

Aswachh affair: Chandigarh’s Sector-42 lake strewn with litter after rituals end in morning; both organisers, MC fail to clear area by afternoon.

punjab Updated: Oct 28, 2017 12:44 IST
Ifrah Mufti
Ifrah Mufti
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chhath Puja,Chhath Puja celebrations,unholy mess
Garbage strewn across the banks of Sector-42 lake after Chhath Puja in Chandigarh on Friday. Even as the organisers took away the tents and chairs set up at the venue, they showed no concern for the puja items, plates, glasses and polybags disposed of at the venue. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Leftover food, water bottles, disposable glasses, flowers, fruits, puja items, polythene bags and even sugarcane leaves: Chhath Puja rituals left a trail of litter in both the water and surroundings of the Sector-42 lake here on Friday morning.

The four-day celebrations came to an end with breaking of fast after worshipping the rising sun on Friday. Till late in the afternoon — when HT visited the spot — the garbage had not been removed. Only tents pitched for the occasion and chairs set up at the venue were taken away, with no concern for the unholy mess.

Chhath Puja is dedicated to the Sun God and his wife Usha in order to thank them for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes.

With no one ready to take responsibility — some say the devotees along with the organisers should have cleared the area after the rituals while others say it is the municipal corporation’s duty to maintain cleanliness — the lake presented a sorry picture, like every year.

Earlier, the devotees — mostly comprising those hailing from Bihar and neighbouring areas — used to perform the rituals at Sukhna Lake, but now the Sector-42 lake has been designated for the purpose.

Devotees offering prayers to the rising sun on the last day of Chhath Puja at the Sector-42 lake in Chandigarh on Friday. ( Reuters )

‘We kept making announcements’

Prabhunath Shahi, media adviser of Purvanchal Welfare Association, which was one of the organisers, said: “Apart from the cleanliness staff provided by the municipal corporation, we had around 70 volunteers making sure that cleanliness is maintained in the area. Not only this, we also kept making announcements on keeping the area clean.”

The rituals comprise fasting, cleaning, holy bathing, standing in water and offering prayers and sweets to the rising and setting sun; so water bodies play an integral role.

Shahi claimed the association got the area cleaned by 11am after the rituals ended. However, when told that the lake remained littered till the afternoon, he said: “This time, three to four other organisations had also participated in the Chhath rituals. They had put up their stalls and must have left the litter.”

The association had even claimed to have put up Swachhta Abhiyan banners in the area, though no temporary dustbins were installed for the devotees to throw the garbage. Even the roads in front of the Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, where stalls had been put up, were strewn with garbage.

“The MC has outsourced the cleanliness work to an outside agency,” said Dr PS Bhatti, medical officer, health, MC. “If we get any negative feedback from any area, we penalise the agency. Every month, we end up imposing about Rs 3-5 lakh fine on the agency.”

The agency has about 900 workers, who are supposed to keep the city clean, said Bhatti. “The agency was informed about the function at Sector 42. We will take suitable action,” he said.

First Published: Oct 28, 2017 12:44 IST