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Delhi LG Saxena okays Chhath Puja at designated Yamuna ghats

He advises Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal against 'misleading and premature publicity' over the issue

PTI New Delhi Published 26.10.22, 07:13 PM

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Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has given his nod to holding Chhath Puja at designated ghats on the Yamuna while advising Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal against "misleading and premature publicity" over the issue, LG office sources said Wednesday.

Sources said a few days ago a tweet by Kejriwal had caused confusion with many people assuming that the puja could be performed anywhere along the Yamuna river.


They said the LG has approved the file on Chhath Puja sent to him but also took note of Kejriwal's tweet on October 21 even before the final approval was granted.

According to sources, the LG took note of the matter and wrote in the file, "The publicity on the issue was done even before the matter was placed for my consideration and before I could formulate an independent opinion on the subject."

In the note, he said the tweet gave the impression that the "Chhath festival will be celebrated on all Yamuna Ghats", which is "misleading" and may cause confusion in the public as the National Green Tribunal has allowed puja only at "designated sites".

"This is seriously problematic as it violates the basic principles of the scheme of governance. Needless to state, that premature publicity of the decision creates interest and thus influences the decision-making process independently in the matter which is extremely sensitive as it relates to religious beliefs and practices of a large section of people.

"The Hon'ble CM is, therefore, advised to refrain from such acts in the future, in the larger public interest," sources quoted Saxena as saying in his file note.

The Aam Aadmi Party dispensation has been at loggerheads with the LG office over numerous issues ever since Saxena assumed the office in May this year.

Recently on October 4, Saxena had ordered an inquiry into alleged irregularities in the power subsidy scheme, raising the hackles of AAP leaders who claimed his move was linked to Gujarat polls and aimed at stalling the free electricity initiative.

Before this, the LG in July this year had recommended a CBI probe into alleged violations of rules and procedural lapses in the implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22.

The CBI raided 31 places including the residence of deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia last month and also named him as accused in irregularities in Delhi excise policy 2021-22.

Later, the LG also asked for a report from the chief secretary on the "inordinate delay of 2.5 years" in acting on a CVC report on irregularities in the construction of classrooms in Delhi government schools.

Sources said Saxena also urged Kejriwal to ensure clean ghats and water for devotees on Chhath puja.

"The proposal to hold Chhath Puja approved by the Lieutenant Governor was specific to designated ghats on the Yamuna," a source said.

Saxena has also directed the revenue and environment departments to ensure strict enforcement of the National Green Tribunal's orders on Yamuna pollution.

The Delhi government's revenue department is the nodal agency for Chhath puja arrangements. It is working in close coordination with other government departments and civic agencies to make the festival a success.

Chhath Puja will be celebrated on October 30 and 31. It involves offering 'arghya' to the Sun god by fasting women in knee-deep water. The festival is hugely popular among Purvanchalis -- people belonging to Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Popular Purvanchali leader and BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, in a letter to Lieutenant Governor Saxena in August, had urged him to direct Delhi government officials to make adequate arrangements for Chhath Puja at ghats on the Yamuna.

The Delhi government has made preparations for Chhath Puja at 1,100 sites.

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