The Sunday morning rain hindered the cleaning of riverbanks ahead of Chhath, delaying the preparations for the biggest festival of the state.
Frequent morning showers are hampering the ghat (riverbank) cleanliness work started on Friday on the directive of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) commissioner Kuldip Narayan. Rain had played spoiler on the opening day also. It rained in the morning that day and hampered the ghat-cleaning work.
Riverbanks are mostly cleaned in the morning hours.
Sheshank Shekhar Sinha, additional municipal commissioner (in-charge), revenue and sanitation, PMC, said: “We are facing problems in cleaning the ghats because of intermittent rain these days. The labourers cannot work when it rains. Moreover, sludge gets accumulated on the steps of the ghats soon after they are cleaned if there is rainfall. We are unable to carry out the cleanliness drive at various ghats because of the increase in the water level of the Ganga after the heavy rain in the city over the past few days.”
The Ganga water level has also soared following the frequent downpour over the past one week, hindering the plan of the Patna district administration to erect pontoon bridges at Collectorate and Mahendru ghats. The high water level has also prevented the district administration from finalising the ghats where Chhath rituals would be allowed.
Ravi Bhushan Sahay, district public relations officer, Patna, said: “The Ganga water level has increased considerably at the Collectorate and Mahendru ghats between the day the decision to erect the pontoon bridges there was taken and today (Sunday). Thus, we are not sure whether the pontoon bridge would be feasible now there or not. Moreover, the sandbar on the other side of the pontoon bridge is also muddy at present. At this moment, one cannot say with certainty if allowing rituals there would be safe. A final decision in this regard would be taken after the sub-divisional officers (SDOs) present their reports.”
Tentative dates of offering arghya (obeisance) to the Sun God are November 8 and 9.
Despite the rain, a high-level team comprising Patna divisional commissioner ELSN Bala Prasad, deputy inspector-general Sunil Kumar, district magistrate N. Saravana Kumar, senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj and Narayan, the PMC commissioner, conducted a survey of the Ganga ghats on Sunday morning.
“The team moved on a steamer along the riverbanks between Gandhi Ghat and Didarganj Ghat. Based on the survey of the ghats, directives have been issued to PMC to clean the ghats and their approach roads at the earliest. The civic body has also been asked to repair the steps, wherever necessary. The SDOs have been asked to submit the updated reports on the safe and the dangerous ghats at the earliest,” said Sahay, the district public relations officer.
The corporation has decided to develop temporary ghats or ponds. (See graphic)
“Ganga has shifted far away from few ghats along the city, especially in the Patna City areas. The shift of the river has created puddles on the muddy stretch on the extended riverbank, making it unsafe to walk. Most such ghats are expected to be declared dangerous by the district administration. Accordingly, PMC would develop temporary ponds at these places,” said Sinha, the additional municipal commissioner (in-charge), revenue and sanitation, PMC.
The civic body would also commence the development work of all the 72 ghats from this week. “The tenders for development of all the 72 ghats identified by the PMC were floated last week and the work would start from this week,” said Sinha.
Several private companies have come forward for taking over the maintenance of few ghats. (See graphic)