The Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation on Thursday issued guidelines for Chhath Puja in the twin city. As per the guidelines chalked out by the Additional Commissioner of MBMC Dilip Dhole which was on the guidelines approved by the state home department, citizens have been urged to not crowd at the waterfronts or Jesal Park to celebrate the festival, and instead, celebrate it from their homes.
This year, Chhat Puja celebrations started on Wednesday and will end on Saturday morning. Significantly, the festival observed mostly by Biharis along with people from Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh (Purvanchal).
The guidelines by the Municipal Corporation came a day after the state government SOP on it. MBMC announced restrictions on Chhath Puja celebrations near natural water bodies in the twin city. They asked devotees to avoid crowding, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
MBMC has directed local NGOs, housing societies and municipal officers to set up artificial ponds across the twin city. This to ensure that people can conduct rituals without crowding. The municipal corporation has banned bursting of firecrackers and use of loudspeakers near the artificial ponds.
According to the six-point guidelines, celebrants have to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. That includes the use of masks when in public and ensuring that social distancing followed.
What they say
After the MBMC denied public celebrations, the north Indian leaders in Mira Bhayandar called it an injustice to devotees. “It has demanded that Chhat Puja celebrations be allowed with some restrictions like those issued for Ganesh Utsav and Durga Puja. However, as COVID-19 pandemic is still dangerous; so, we have to follow the guidelines. Nevertheless, Chhath Puja is one of our biggest festivals. We, the north Indian, have faith on it,” said Madan Singh, Senior BJP Corporator.
“The government is expecting a surge in Covid-19 cases after Diwali. Hence, the government has prohibited the large scale public gatherings at such festivals. Devotees should follow the guidelines for Chhath Puja to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Mr Dhole.