Using his special powers, Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena declared a ‘dry day’ on the occasion of Chhath Puja. He also wrote a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, requesting that he address the issue of toxic froth in the Yamuna river before the festival on October 30. The LG was concerned about the pollution and foam formation at specific Yamuna locations in his letter to Kejriwal on October 28.

The LG first declared Chhath Puja on October 30 as a dry day, ensuring that no bars or clubs are open during the festival. According to a representative of the LG office, “government of Delhi as per section 2 (35) of Delhi Excise Act has declared dry day on Chatth.”

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Further, in a letter to CM Kejriwal, Saxena, “The issue regarding foam and pollution in Yamuna is of grave concern and if left unattended may prove to be injurious to devotees. Accordingly, it needs to be redressed urgently.” Moreover, the LG has also emphasized the necessity of implementing safety measures such as danger zone marking, deep water barricading to prevent accidents, adequate lighting, diver deployment, and deployment of rescue boats at Chhath Ghats.

10,000 – 40,000 people anticipated at some designated ghats

During Chhath Puja, between 10,000 to 40,000 people are anticipated at some designated ghats, including Bhalswa Lake, Wazirabad-Sonia Vihar, Badli, Bawana Industrial Area, Maidan Garhi, Kalindi Kunj, and Budh Bazar-Uttam Nagar. The LG stated in his letter that appropriate planning for crowd management and securing law and order at all sites has already been discussed with Delhi Police. Chhath Puja, one of the most important festivals celebrated by millions of people in parts of north India, is linked to their spiritual, cultural, and religious beliefs.

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Saxena added that on this day, large crowds of devotees congregate at ponds, rivers, reservoirs, lakes, and other bodies of water all over Delhi to worship the rising and setting sun. After two years of restrictions on festivities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, thousands of people would be preparing to celebrate the Chhath festival across Delhi. The LG also stressed the need for Chhath ghats to be clean and the organization of labour and logistics for the festival.