| (From left) Urban development minister Prem Kumar, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak, along with senior officers, inspect Ganga ghats on Wednesday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi surveyed various Ganga ghats in the capital on Wednesday and directed officials to work on a war footing to ensure a safe Chhath for devotees.
Considering many ghats unsafe for devotees owing to erosion of the riverbanks, Modi directed the officials to ban some of them for the arghya. He asked the officials to make temporary arrangements such as construction of ponds at the unsafe ghats.
Modi said though the list of unsafe ghats would be announced in a day or two, the entire stretch from Khajekala Ghat to Malsalami Ghat is dangerous for devotees as a steep slope has developed owing to sand erosion.
The tardy pace of work at Gai Ghat also failed to impress Modi. The construction of stairs is yet to be completed there. Modi directed Chandrama Singh, the additional municipal commissioner, to speed up the work.
Apart from the dangerous and under-prepared ghats, devotees would have to be contended with garbage this Chhath. On the stretch from Gandhi Ghat to Collectorate Ghat and from Gandhi Ghat to Malsalami Ghat, polythene bags and waste puja materials were found floating. Modi said: In the next three days, work should be carried out on a war footing to clean these ghats.
The issue of the Ganga shifting northwards was another concern for Modi. The river has shifted by at least 2km towards the north in the past two years. However, the civic body would erect bamboo bridges. Modi said: A pontoon bridge will be constructed at Adalat Ghat, while a bamboo bridge will be constructed at the Collectorate Ghat so that devotees can reach the water without walking on sand.
Connecting bridges would also be constructed on ghats where the river has shifted northwards. Civic officials have been asked to erect enclosures for women and ensure ambulance and sufficient divers at the spots.