Propagating the message of communal harmony, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said: “We celebrate festivals of all religion with equal importance and give significance to the feeling of the people.”
Banerjee visited Doi Ghat and Takta Ghat to greet people on Chhath Puja on Sunday evening.
Firhad Hakim, the state Urban Development minister, and Sovan Chatterjee, Kolkata Mayor and state Fire minister, accompanied the Chief Minister on the occasion.
Hundreds of people gathered at the bank of river Hooghly to offer Chhath puja. After greeting the people, Banerjee said that the state government had developed and improved the condition of the ghats on the bank of river Hooghly, which were in a dilapidated state for decades.
“We value the traditions. I visit the ghats on the day of Chhath Puja every year and we celebrate all festivals with equal importance. Durga Puja and Kali Puja are over. In December, there will be Christmas and it will also be celebrated in the state with equal pomp and pleasure,” she said, adding that this year Monday has been declared a holiday for state government employees for Chhath Puja.
The Chief Minister urged the people not to hurry unnecessarily and to reach the river bank peacefully to offer their puja. She said that the administration and the police were working to help the people.
Police too had made elaborate arrangements to avoid any untoward incident, as people headed towards river Hooghly, Rabindra Sarovar and Subhas Sarovar to offer puja.
Additional policemen were deployed at 100 ghats of river Hooghly. Additional traffic policemen were also deployed to avoid traffic congestion.
Policemen were seen directing people to park their vehicles at specified places near the ghats from where they had to walk up to the ghats. The step was taken to avoid traffic snarls at the bank.
Six watch towers were erected to keep vigil on the movement of people, while the river traffic section of the Kolkata Police operated 12 speed boats and 54 motorised boats.
There will be similar arrangements from early morning on Monday. Additional lights have been installed to ensure proper illumination at the ghats, as people would start pouring in from early morning.