The annual Chhath Puja celebrations will be bound by restrictions imposed by the state and civic authorities this year, due to the pandemic. A representation by Bhartiya Janata Party corporators has demanded that - guidelines for the Chhatpuja program should be issued at the earliest by keeping the pandemic scenario in mind.
The BJP corporators have demanded that artificial ponds like the ones during Ganesh Chaturthi should be provided to prevent people from gathering on beaches and public water bodies in large numbers.
Chhath Puja is observed with fervour even in Mumbai, with lakhs of devotees thronging to various beaches/water bodies to perform the ritual every year.
With a spike in COVID-19 cases across, state governments are stepping up to issue guidelines to regulate the way the festival will be celebrated this year. Chhath Puja also called ‘Dala Puja’ celebrated majorly in Bihar, Jharkhand, and other parts of north and east India is a four-day festival where women fast and congregate near water bodies to offer prayers to the Sun God.
This year, with the danger of Covid-19 infection lurking and fear of rapid virus transmissions, prompted the Delhi government to ban Chhath Puja rituals in public places and large gatherings. Even the Calcutta High Court, has put a stop on Chhath Puja processions across West Bengal.
With the rituals, commencing from November 18, 2020, BJP corporators have demanded that permission for performing Chhath puja should be given the only subject to the terms and conditions and safety protocol stressing on wearing of masks and social distancing.
"In the view of safety and to avoid crowd gathering amid the pandemic, we have urged the civic administration to ban community Chhath Puja celebrations or crowd gathering, we have demanded that guidelines pertaining this should be. The officials have been directed to take strict action against people not following COVID-19 protocols," said BJP corporator Vinod Mishra.
Apart from Juhu beach, Sanjay Gandhi National park, Shivaji Park, Colaba and Banganga are a few other venues in Mumbai where devotees gather and take a holy dip during sunrise and sunset on the occasion.
Mishra added, "We have suggested that artificial ponds in a similar way that were provided during Ganeshotsav should be facilitated so that devotees can perform their rituals in their locality and there will be no crowding."