The circular was sent to the panchayat, urban development and municipal affairs, and transport departments, Bengal and Calcutta police, state pollution control oard and the district magistrates
The environment department had on November 11 issued a circular on Chhath Puja based on a high court order the day before, but did not refer to the blanket ban the court had imposed on Chhath rituals at Rabindra Sarobar and Subhas Sarobar.
The circular was sent to the panchayat, urban development and municipal affairs, and transport departments, Bengal and Calcutta police, state pollution control board and the district magistrates.
Environment activists said the omission of the ban in the circular was “intentional” and it amounted to “misrepresentation of the high court order”.
“As far as Subhas Sarobar and Rabindra Sarobar are concerned… these water bodies will be totally out of bounds for Chhath Puja celebrations,” ruled the division bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee on November 10.
The environment department’s circular, issued the next day, only referred to that part of the high court order which said repeated announcements would have to be made to let people know that no more than two persons from a family would be allowed to perform the rituals, long processions would not be allowed and Covid protocols would have to be followed.
Sabuj Mancha, an organisation that works for protection of the environment, wrote to the chief minister on Wednesday, demanding that “misrepresentation of the High Court order” be “rectified at the earliest”.
A senior official in the environment department asked Metro to talk to the CMDA (the custodian of the two water bodies) or the urban development department (under which the agency functions) when asked about the omission. However, when it was pointed out to him that the circular was issued by his department, he refused to make any further comment.