10 new waterbodies identified for Chhath Puja rituals

Kolkata: The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has identified 10 new waterbodies, most of them at close proximity to Rabindra Sarovar Lake, for observing Chhath Puja scheduled on November 2. The KMDA has been looking for alternative sites for holding the rituals of Chhath Puja after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered a ban on any sort of Puja or social activities at Rabindra Sarovar due to pollution issues. At least 30,000 devotees have been observing Chhath rituals at Rabindra Sarovar for the past few years.

The 10 waterbodies that have been identified are in addition to the two alternative sites that have been already earmarked by the KMDA — one near Nonadanga at the backside of Fortis Hospital and another at Baishnabghata Patuli Jheel. Work for infrastructure development of these ghats are in its last phases.

The 10 new ghats that have been identified are namely Kutty Pukur waterbody, Madartala Pukur, Ramdhan Park pond, waterbody inside Govindan Kutty park which are all located in Golf Garden area; Jodhpur Park Lake; three ponds near Lalka area; waterbody inside Nature Park at Taratala and a pond opposite to a private hospital at Kasba Bypass connector.

"Most of these waterbodies are in good condition with fencing and a few of them need to be cleaned,"a senior KMDA official said.

The KMDA is spending Rs 50 lakh for developing the infrastructure of the various ghats like drinking water facilities, bio-toilets, assistance centres, arrangement for changing of clothes, particularly for women after observing rituals and creating proper infrastructure for ghats.

The list of the 10 alternative sites was finalised on Saturday at a meeting chaired by state Urban Development minister and KMDA chairman Firhad Hakim at the KMC headquarters. Senior officials of the KMDA have already visited these places and work for necessary infrastructure development has begun.

"The Rabindra Sarovar has been included in the list of 100 most important lakes in the country and we are taking all measures to ensure that the NGT orders are obeyed. This is our heritage and we are committed to ensure that the air and water quality are at its best," said Antara Acharya, CEO of KMDA.

It may be mentioned that the NGT has imposed ban on littering in and around the lake, bathing in its water, using excessive bright lights around it, washing clothes or utensils, emitting sounds that disturb the birds in the area and entering the lake premises with any kind of plastic bag.

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