Ranchi gets ready for Chhath amid Covid restrictions
The Ranchi district administration has started preparing a roadmap to ensure adherence to Covid norms during Chhath festivities with the Jharkhand government allowing Arghya at public places for the first time since the pandemic hit the state.
Besides preparing a foolproof plan for deployment of security forces and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel at all Chhath ghats, the district administration has been holding meetings with the various Chhath committees in the state capital to take additional measures for ensuring Covid-appropriate behaviour at the ghats.
Ranchi Sub Divisional Officer Deepak Dubey said on Saturday that various Chhath committees in the city will be asked to us loudspeakers to air messages about Covid-appropriate behaviour.
“We will ask Chhath puja committees to play messages about Covid-appropriate behaviour on loudspeakers while devotees gather at ghats to offer prayers,” said Dubey, adding that the district administration will hold a meeting with all Chhath puja committees a day or two before Chhath, which will be celebrated across India on November 10.
Magistrates will also be deployed at Chhath ghats to take action against those found flouting Covid-19 norms.
Thousands of devotees visit water bodies across Ranchi during Chhath and offer Arghya, a holy ritual of offering water to the Sun god. Chhath ghats are usually overcrowded during the festival, which is likely to make it difficult for the administration to maintain social distancing, sources said.
Amarnath Sarkar, one of the members of Nav Yuvak Kali Puja Committee, which also works in Chhath management, suggested the district administration should put up barricades at ghats to ensure social distancing among the devotees. “If we have barricades at the ghats, then devotees won’t come too close to each other while offering Arghya,” he said.
Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has started cleaning Chhath ghats across the city. Mayor Asha Lakra recently inspected some of the popular Chhath ghats in the city and directed officials to ensure that all the water bodies were cleaned before the festival.
Last year, the government disallowed Chhath festivities at public water bodies owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though such restrictions have been lifted this year, many devotees have decided to perform Chhath rituals in the safety of their homes or apartment complexes.
Kalpana Devi, a Lalpur resident who has been performing Chhath rituals every year for more than a decade, will offer prayers on the terrace of her apartment this year. The 55-year-old said that keeping the Covid-19 situation in mind, she decided against visiting a public water body during Chhath this time.