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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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48-hour scramble in steel city

The East Singhbhum district administration has its task cut out — clean up filthy river banks and ponds in and around the steel city with Chhath barely 72 hours away.

The last meeting on Chhath preparations was on November 6, and now the administration is banking on the three civic bodies — and Jusco — to clean the ghats in their jurisdiction.

Till Wednesday, the entire focus of the administrative machinery was on chief minister Arjun Munda’s visit to his ancestral home between November 12 and 14 and then on Statehood Day celebrations. A Chhath preparation review meeting is scheduled on Friday, and then the authorities would be left with only 48 hours in hand to spruce up the major ghats.

Additional district magistrate (law and order) Ajit Shanker, who was part of the district administration team which played a cricket match with the Tinplate Company of India Limited team on Thursday, conceded that the VIP visits had delayed their Chhath review, but added that everything would be ready on time.

“We were a bit tied up. However, instructions had been issued much earlier and we can assure that all ghats will be spruced up for devotees before November 19 evening,” said the official.

The task of cleaning the ghats is vested on Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC), Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC) and Jugsalai municipality while Jusco will be providing electricity and installing lighting.

Though there are around 40 ghats in the city and its outskirts, the biggest rush are at Subernarekha Ghat (Sakchi), Bhuiyandih Ghat (Hume Pipe), Kapali Ghat (Circuit House), Domuhani Ghat (Sonari) and Baroda Ghat (Bagbera).

Central Peace Committee secretary Ram Babu Singh sounded worried as he said the river banks were yet to be cleared of the wooden frames that had been lying there since Kali Puja immersions.

“The city hosts around 300 big and small Kali pujas. Earlier, local residents used to clear the frames once the immersions got over, but that has not been the case this time. With more immersions scheduled on Thursday, more paraphernalia will pile up,” said Singh.

For those who have large families and reserve space on the riverbanks before the actual rituals begin, it has become a tough task this year.

“Every year we used to reserve Chhath Puja sthal three days in advance as we have a big family and need more space, which becomes difficult to get at the last moment. However, this year we can reserve space only a day in advance as the ghats are littered with waste and puja paraphernalia,” said Kadma resident Raju Yadav.