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Mayor reviews Chhath preparedness at ghats, stands firm on NGT guidelines

Kolkata: The state government has taken all possible measures to ensure smooth observance of Chhath Puja rituals from Saturday evening till Sunday morning.

Gates leading to the Rabindra Sarovar Lake will remain closed from Friday evening till 12 noon on Sunday with the government determined to follow the guidelines of the National Green Tribunal to curb pollution at the sprawling water body.

The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education has declared that all its affiliated schools will remain closed on Monday on account of Chhath Puja.

Mayor Firhad Hakim on Friday visited five ghats adjacent to river Ganga and said that all facilities are in place for smooth conduct of Chhath Puja.

The state government has readied 16 ghats, including the ones adjacent to the Ganga, and two temporary reservoirs have been created for observing the festival, less than two kilometres away from Rabindra Sarovar. One such facility has come up at Tentultala ground off Panditiya Road near Deshapriya Park while another has come up at a park just opposite Tipu Sultan mosque on Prince Anwar Shah Road that falls under the constituency of state Power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay. Chattopadhyay himself supervised the preparation of the temporary facility on Friday morning.

Both these temporary structures will be demolished after the Chaath Puja and the parks will be restored to its original state.

"We give equal importance to all religions and all religious festivals are held in the state with equal priority. We have created facilities at a number of ghats and senior officials have visited all these places to ensure that everything is in order. I am hopeful that those performing Chhath will not face any difficulty," Hakim said after visiting Doi Ghat, Takta Ghat, Babughat, Kidderpore ghat adjacent to river Ganga on Friday. Hakim instructed officials to put a chain at the ghats to prevent devotees to from venturing deep into the water.

"We have put a tin fence to ensure that people living in slums adjacent to the railway tracks near Rabindra Sarovar cannot scale the boundary wall and enter Sarovar premises," said a senior official of Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), which is the custodian of the Sarovar.

The KMDA official said there would be help desks, health teams, bio toilets, changing rooms, drinking water facilities and sufficient lighting for those performing Chhath. Disaster management teams will be deployed at all ghats.

"We have carried out awareness campaign in all parts of the city regarding the closure of Rabindra Sarovar and the alternative ghats," the official added.

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