Chhath Puja 2021: Chhath Puja is just around the corner and since the celebrations are huge in Delhi, Bihar and Jharkhand, the three states are preparing for the festival in full swing. However, for the second year in a row, the coronavirus pandemic is set to put a damper on the celebrations. In order to ensure that the mass celebrations do not set off a rise in cases, Bihar, Jharkhand as well as Delhi have laid out guidelines for the celebrations. Jharkhand has allowed people to celebrate Chhath Puja at ponds and rivers as long as COVID-19 protocols are followed.
Jharkhand has, in fact, also permitted people to celebrate other festivals in public while observing coronavirus guidelines. Ahead of the festival, the state also held a meeting and decided to completely lift the restrictions on functioning of shops, an extension from the earlier deadline of 8 pm. Apart from that, restrictions on Sunday have been completely lifted, with markets and business activities being permitted to function like they were before the lockdown period. 500 guests can now be invited to weddings, and marriage halls can operate at 50% capacity. Meanwhile, clubs and cinemas can also open. It is not yet clear if these relaxation would continue to remain in place after the festive season ends or if these are here to stay.
In Bihar as well, public celebrations of Chhath Puja at the banks of river Ganga have been allowed by the state authority, a big contrast from last year’s ban on public celebrations. State authorities have also begun preparing for the event. No bursting of crackers would be allowed at the ghats, and observing of COVID-19 protocols would be mandatory for the celebrations, the state has decided. Using masks and sanitisers has been made mandatory.
Meanwhile, Delhi Disaster Management Authority has marked designated sites where celebrations can take place, and banks of Yamuna river have not been included in these sites. The designated sites are located outside containment zones, and the DDMA has clarified that no site would be designated along the banks of river Yamuna, in order to ensure that the river remains clean. The decision has been taken while strictly adhering to the directions given by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the Yamuna Monitoring Committee.