Chhath Puja observed maintaining all norms, peacefully across state
Kolkata: Devotees observed Chaath Puja rituals in the city by strictly adhering to the COVID-19 protocols and abiding by the direction of the Calcutta High Court by avoiding both Rabindra Sarobar and Subhas Sarobar for performing Puja.
The devotees used the alternative arrangement of the 44-odd temporary ghats arranged by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) and makeshift reservoirs created under the initiative of various co ordinators of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).
The Kolkata Police also played their part making elaborate security arrangements for keeping both Rabindra Sarobar and Subhas Sarovar out of bounds of the Chaath Puja observers to ensure that the high court's order is implemented properly.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had appealed to the people to observe Chhath Puja in small groups to maintain physical distancing and abiding by the high court's order.
Observance of Chaath Puja in Rabindra Sarobar was banned by the National Green Tribunal last year too. KMDA had locked the gates of Rabindra Sarobar on the day of Chaath Puja but more than 20,000 devotees broke open the locks and entered the premises. There were aged persons, women and children among them.
This time a handful of people from Gobindapur Rail colony tried to enter Rabindra Sarobar through the rail gate of Lake Gardens rail station but the police urged them to use alternative ghats nearby citing the order of the Calcutta High Court. They abided by the appeal of the police .
"There was a few aged devotees among the women who observed Chatth.The 44 ghats that we have created had a much greater turnout in comparison to the previous year. More than 10,000 people had observed Chatth at Subhas Sarobar last year. But this time there were no attempts to peform Puja there too," said a senior KMDA official.
All the 25 gates at Rabindra Sarobar and six at the Subhas Sarobar had elaborate police arrangement under the supervision of three deputy commissioners. Wooden barricades were put up on the footpaths so that nobody can go up to the gates of the two waterbodies.
The police had also carried out awareness particularly in areas close to the two sprawling waterbodies about the High Court order.
The ghats along the bank of the Hooghly river also had sufficient police arrangement for smooth observance of the Puja.
"We are very happy with the arrangement made by the administration to strictly implement the High Court's order. This has been the first time when we had spotted painted stork which is a near threatened species in Rabindra Sarobar. We are hopeful that they will be able to nest here during winter with no disturbance in the waterbody," said Sudip Ghosh, a keen birdwatcher.