Chhat Puja: Darjeeling DM issues directives
Darjeeling: The District Magistrate, Darjeeling, has issued an order that worshippers have to strictly follow rules during the forthcoming Chhat Puja in Siliguri and Kurseong sub-divisions.
The order issued by the District Magistrate, Darjeeling states that the National Green Tribal, Eastern Bench, has passed orders to protect river Mahananda from pollution and forbidden construction of temporary bridges on the occasion of Chhat Puja.
Incidentally, the Mahananda river originates from the Himalayas at an elevation of 2,100 m in Kurseong in the Darjeeling district. It flows through the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and descends to the plains of Siliguri. It then touches the Jalpaiguri district to enter Bangladesh and after flowing for 3 km, returns to India. The order for Siliguri and Kurseong sub-divisions of the Darjeeling district include no construction of temporary bridges across part or whole of the river in any part. No excavation of the river bed, dumping of sand bags inside the river or other changes affecting the course of the river will be allowed.
Devotees will have to ensure that no puja materials and waste is dumped into the river. To avoid stampedes, devotees should be spread across the banks and not crowd in pockets. Split bamboo or net barricades, if necessary may be built upto 3 feet from the river banks to allow access into the water. Any excavators or other instruments being used to excavate or alter the river bed without prior permission will be seized.
A joint survey by the irrigation department, PWD, North Bengal Construction Division, representatives of the district administration, Siliguri Municipal Corporation and Pollution Control Board will take place before October 15 to identify the stretches on both sides of the river where devotees can congregate for the rituals. Any person who violates this order may be liable for imprisonment and fine of Rs 10 crore and rigorous imprisonment of three years by a competent court (for violating the orders of the NGT).