Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor Jai Prakash has said he will write to lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and request them to reconsider their decision to ban Chhath Puja at public places in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said he will request them to allow the puja with certain riders and guidelines.
Prakash said a number of people from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh live in Delhi and Chhath is one of their most important and popular festivals. He added the ban on the Puja at public places will force people to celebrate the festival locally which can lead to the spread of the virus. “It is better that we allow Chhath Puja with strict guidelines about crowd control and social distancing at ghats.”
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Prakash suggested that a limit of 50 people at a ghat can be set and devotees can be allowed on the basis of cards issued by their Chhath committees. He said to control crowds, the number of ghats can be increased by creating temporary pools in municipal parks, which are available in almost every colony. “Only devotees who observe fast should be allowed at these ghats. These precautions can really help in managing crowds. We are ready to extend our full support to the government if it allows Chhath Puja,” Prakash said.
There are nearly 1,200 Chhath Ghats across the city where devotees would celebrate the festival annually.
The Delhi government has banned community celebrations of Chhath at public places like river banks, temples, and ghats to control the spread of the virus. The move came after a sudden spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.
The BJP on Tuesday staged a protest to oppose the ban.
Ruling Aam Aadmi Party leader Durgesh Pathak said the BJP-ruled central government issued guidelines to stop the celebration of Chhath Puja. He accused the BJP of “falsely accusing” the Delhi government of disallowing the celebration.
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