The four-day Chhath festival that pays obeisance to the Sun god began today with devotees performing the rituals, even as authorities made further arrangements to ensure sanitation and safety at various ghats in anticipation of huge crowd.
Day one is called ‘nahai-khai’ (bathing-eating ritual) when people observing the festival, take a dip in rivers or other water bodies, and then cook food on traditional chullah.
Day two is called ‘kharna’, when devotees cook ‘kheer’ and ‘roti’ which is then distributed as ‘prasad’.
The ghats witness massive crowd on last two days when people throng them for the offering (‘arghyas’) to the setting and rising sun in succession.
Civic authorities have spruced up the ghats and made arrangements while police and disaster management team are working on measures to ensure no untoward incident occurs.
North Delhi Mayor Sanjeev Nayyar today inspected various ghats to assess the preparedness.
A number of ghats fall under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s Civil Lines Zone — Qudsia Ghat, Wazirabad Ghat, Rambagh Ghat, while Kalindi Kunj Ghat in south Delhi draws a major crowd on the last two days. In east Delhi, Sonia Vihar and Geeta Colony are some of the important ghats.
The mayor directed officials to further improve the sanitation and cleanliness on ghats.
“60 temporary toilets are being developed on Qudsia Ghat for the convenience of the devotees. Mobile toilets would also be installed. Besides, levelling and other work on ghats are being done,” Nayyar said.
Civic authorities said, fogging would be continued for twice a day, early morning and late evening, at the ghats.
The Flood Control and Irrigation Department has also been be asked to clean the river. Municipal staff have been instructed to clear garbabe under the ISBT Bridge immediately.
“We will have 17-18 designated parking places for people. There will be routine diversions in place on Ring Road,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Garima Bhatnagar said.
The North District has Kudsia Ghat, Geeta Ghat, Ram Ghat, etc, under its purview.
“We held meetings with the representatives from the various associations and it is for the first time that ghats will have CCTV cameras to monitor the crowd situation.
“There will be three rescue teams each on all the ghats and there will be waterboats and divers. Close to 100 personnel from the local police will be assisting traffic cops in monitoring traffic movement,” Madhur Verma, DCP(North) said.
Rishi Pal, DCP (East) said, “There are 17 ghats in our district. The deployment of police personnel near the ghats will be stepped up. Our personnel will be involved in crowd management and motorcycle patrolling will be increased in the area around the ghats.”
Delhi is home to a sizeable population of migrant community. Chhath is observed mainly by people from Bihar and easter Uttar Pradesh.