Kolkata, Nov 20 (PTI) Chhath puja was on Friday
observed here without much fanfare, as processions synonymous
with the festival were largely missing from the city roads,
and people performed rituals at the temporary ghats set up by
the civic authorities, while maintaining physical distance.
At least 44 temporary ghats and two waterbodies have
been set up in Kolkata for the purpose.
Devotees offered puja in small groups, as authorities
ensured effluents were discarded and the water was immediately
cleaned once the rituals were over, officials said.
On Saturday, too, people will visit the ghats to pray
to Sun God at the crack of dawn, they said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in a
tweet, said, “Heartiest greetings to the people of Bengal,
India and all over the world on the auspicious occasion of
Chhath Puja. May Lord Surya fulfil all your wishes.”
Banerjee, in a separate message, appealed to people to
offer prayers at home or visit neighbourhood ponds.
“If the devotees live near a river, they can visit
ghats in small groups,” she said, urging everyone to cooperate
with the administration and honour the orders of the
Banerjee, who attended a Chhath puja at Kuthighat area
in central Kolkata, said around 1,300 waterbodies have been
set up all over the state for the devotees.
The Supreme Court had on Thursday ruled that Chhath
puja will not be allowed at the Rabindra Sarobar Lake, while
the Calcutta High Court banned celebrations at Subas Sarobar.
Civic authorities, in keeping with the court orders,
locked the gates of the two lakes.
An official of Kolkata Metropolitan Development
Authority — the custodian of the two lakes — said five gates
of Rabindra Sarobar and several entry points of Subhas Sarobar
were locked on Thursday midnight, with personnel of the
Kolkata Police guarding the premises.
Another KMC official said, “Hundreds of people visited
the atificial brick pond set up in north Kolkata and offered
Chhat puja in ankle-deep water.
Environmentalist Sumita Bandyopadhyay, one of the
crusaders of ”Save Rabindra Sarobar” movement in Kolkata,
said, “It is a day of victory for conservationists, as not a
single person was allowed access to the lake. Hats off to the
Kolkata Police, the KMDA, the NGT and the High Court for
making this possible.
“Unlike last year, there will be no turtle carcass or
dead fish floating in the water. We are all for celebrating
Chhath, but environment should not be damaged,” she said.
The NGT had passed an order in 2018, banning Chhath
puja at Rabindra Sarobar.
Hundreds of devotees, however, flouted the ban and
broke open the gates of the lake in 2019 to perform the puja.
Earlier in the day, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had
extended his greetings to everyone on the occasion.
“Warmest greetings to everyone on the auspicious
occasion of Maha Parv #ChhathPuja. May positivity of Chhath
Puja spread in our life and fill it with good health, peace,
prosperity and happiness as also well being of all. Let purest
thoughts guide all our actions,” Dhankhar tweeted.
A spokesman of Bihari Samaj in the city said, “We urge
our community members to offer Chhat puja in similar way like
they did today. Thanks to everyone for following the
directives of the court. Let”s not flout COVID-19 guidelines.”
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI