Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena declared Chhath Puja on Sunday as a ‘dry day’ in the capital — in a first-of-a-kind move. The L-G, in his capacity as ‘government’ as per Section 2(35) of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009, has done the same. The move will ensure that all the liquor shops in the capital remain shut on Chhath.
The Opposition in the national capital had demanded that Chhath be declared a dry day.
Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta on Friday wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanding the same. Gupta stated that the move would maintain the sanctity of the national capital as well as the festival. Delhi Congress, on the other hand, had demanded the announcement of a public holiday and dry day on Chhath, saying that under former CM Sheila Dikshit’s tenure, Chhath was a public holiday in Delhi.
The LG also wrote to Kejriwal asking him to deal with the issue of toxic froth in Yamuna ahead of the festival. In his letter on Friday, Saxena expressed concern over pollution and foam formation at certain places in the Yamuna.
“The issue regarding foam and pollution in Yamuna is of grave concern and if left unattended may prove to be injurious to devotees. Accordingly, it needs to be redressed urgently," Saxena wrote.
The Lieutenant Governor had earlier given his nod to holding Chhath Puja at designated ghats on the Yamuna. He, however, urged CM Kejriwal against “misleading and premature publicity" over the issue.
Sources in the LG office told PTI that a few days ago a tweet by Kejriwal had caused confusion with many people assuming that the puja could be performed anywhere along the Yamuna river.
They said the LG has approved the file on Chhath Puja sent to him but also took note of Kejriwal’s tweet on October 21 even before the final approval was granted. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), however, expressed objection over the language used by the LG for the chief minister in the note and said Saxena was “hungry for cheap publicity".
Chhath Puja, which involves the offering of ‘arghya’ to the Sun god by fasting women in knee-deep water, will be celebrated on October 30 and 31. The festival is hugely popular among Purvanchalis — people belonging to Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh — living in Delhi.
On Friday, Delhi Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot visited Hathi Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna near ITO to take stock of the preparations. The minister checked the sanitation, lighting, water supply arrangements and the digging of temporary ponds and also issued directives to accelerate the remaining works.
At some designated ghats, such as Bhalswa lake, Wazirabad-Sonia Vihar, Badli, Bawana Industrial Area, Maidan Garhi, Kalindi Kunj, and Budh Bazar-Uttam Nagar, about 10,000 to 40,000 people are expected to be present on Chhath.
(With PTI inputs)
Read all the Latest India News here