The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) is wrapping Rabindra Sarobar and Subhas Sarobar with bamboo barricades and tin sheets so that no one can enter the premises to perform Chhath Puja rituals.
Banners with a list of ghats where the rituals can be performed have been hung from the gates of the two lakes.
The two parks, among Kolkata’s largest green spaces, will remain closed from 7pm on Saturday till 2pm on Monday, said an official of the KMDA, the custodian of the two premises.
Morning walkers and other regular visitors will not be allowed to enter the parks during the period.
Chhath Puja rituals will be performed at dusk on Sunday and at dawn on Monday.
The rituals require worshippers to stand in water and perform puja.
In 2018, thousands of worshippers performed Chhath Puja rituals on the Rabindra Sarobar and Subhas Sarobar premises after some of them broke open the locks on the gates.
The administration did not make any effort to stop them. Religious rituals on the two premises have been barred by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The entrance to Subhas Sarobar barricaded with bamboo poles ahead of Chhath Puja.
No Chhath rituals have been held at Rabindra and Subhas Sarobars since 2019. In the last two years, fewer devotees performed the rituals at various ghats in Kolkata because of Covid.
Since a large number of people are likely to assemble again this year, the KMDA is taking all possible steps to prevent a repeat of 2018. “We have started erecting bamboo barricades around the two Sarobars. We will install the barricades outside all gates of Rabindra Sarobar by Saturday evening,” said an official of the KMDA.
The barricades outside the gates of Subhas Sarobar will be built from Saturday evening, after the derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
“Spectators will park their vehicles on the Subhas Sarobar premises,” the official said.
Nearly 150 water bodies have been prepared for Chhath rituals, as alternatives to Rabindra Sarobar and Subhas Sarobar.
Some of these are temporary ghats built around water bodies only for Chhath Puja, while a few others have permanent steps leading to the water.
These are in addition to nearly 20 ghats along the Hooghly where Chhath Puja is allowed.
Some of the places where Chhath rituals are allowed are Ramdhan Park and Govindan Kutty Park in Golf Gardens, Madartala water body in Tollygunge, water bodies near Fortis Hospital in Anandapur and Layalka pond in Regent Estate.
Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is creating artificial water bodies at five locations for the rituals. A walled enclosure is being built and the inside is being filled with water.
The artificial water bodies are being prepared near Panditiya Road, along a lane close to MR Bangur Hospital and near Citizens Park on Cornfield Road, among other places.
Most of the ghats where the Chhath rituals can be performed have changing rooms and toilets.