| Scavengers at Collectorate Ghat on Wednesday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Public or private institutions adopting a ghat for Chhath would be penalised in the form of a fine or legal action if they back out after having taken up responsibility.
On Tuesday, the administration held its first meeting on preparations for the state’s biggest festival and decided to continue with the Chhath ghat adoption initiative with proper management. The plan had been started last year.
“The meeting on Tuesday was a preliminary one. Instructions were given to concerned authorities to make proper arrangements. While additional district magistrates and sub-divisional officers have been asked to start inspecting the ghats, police have been asked to start preparing a plan for traffic management and to maintain law and order. There would be another meeting next week where a list of the dangerous ghats in Patna would be presented,” an official said.
After last year’s stampede at Adalat Ghat, the administration is leaving no stone unturned to make the festival safe for thousands of devotees who throng the ghats.
“Last year, the government started the initiative of Ghat adoption. Under the plan, any public or private institution could approach the administration to adopt a ghat and take up the entire responsibility, including safety and preparations for Chhath. It was the job of the institution to look after all aspects to ensure safety of devotees during the rituals. The district administration, too, used to provide assistance,” said the official.
He added: “However, some institutions backed out at the last hour. The administration encountered many problems in completing the preparations. The meeting scheduled for next week will decide the responsibilities of the institution that take up the task. If anyone backs out, the administration will take action, which could be a heavy fine or legal procedures.”
Last year, around 20 private firms, including Axis Bank, Dena Bank, Bank of India and ICICI Bank, had adopted several ghats for Chhath. They had undertaken works related to light and sound, lavatories and changing rooms. They also made arrangements for sufficient parking space at the ghats.
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