Sheila demands additional trains; BJP want Chhat to be declared a holiday

With the festival of Chhat drawing closer, the politics surrounding it has also gained momentum. As Poorvanchalis, who celebrate the festival with gaiety and fervour, now constitute a significant chunk of the electorate in Delhi, the politicians in the city which is headed for Assembly polls in about a year’s time are leaving no stone unturned to appeal to the masses through this festival.

On Thursday, Health Minister A. K. Walia convened a meeting and directed officials to ensure a “safe, convenient and clean Chhat Puja”. He also undertook an inspection of the puja ghats near his Laxmi Nagar constituency in East Delhi.

While directing the East Delhi Municipal Corporation to ensure proper sanitation arrangements, sprinkling of insecticide and pesticides, and removal of garbage, he said mobile dispensaries would also be stationed to provide first aid. Apart from this provision of mobile toilets would also be made through Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board.

For the safety of the devotees, the Minister said Revenue Department officials have been told to provide tents and loudspeakers and Irrigation and Flood Control Department officials have been instructed to place barricades at a safe distance in the Yamuna river waters.

Meanwhile, Delhi Revenue and Urban Development Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely has also lined up visit to various Chhat Puja ghats on Friday for reviewing the arrangements.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is also in the thick of things and as per her Parliamentary Secretary Mukesh Sharma, she has already interacted with the Railway Minister to seek additional special trains for Chhat Puja.

Mr. Sharma said these special trains would clear the rush of waiting Poorvanchalis at various railway stations in Delhi. “The Poorvanchalis have been held up since they are not able to board any train bound to their hometown in Bihar. They are eager to celebrate their important Chhat Puja with their dear and near ones,” said the Uttam Nagar legislator.

Incidentally, Mr. Sharma is strongly wooing the Poorvanchali community which had voted in large numbers to ensure the victory of Congress leader Mahabal Mishra in the last parliamentary elections from West Delhi.

On the other hand, the Delhi BJP has also announced that it would be deputing 10,000 volunteers across the city to ensure that the preparations for the Chhat puja are in order. Besides, he said camps would be organised at 160 Chhat ghats with the help of volunteers by the party.

Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta said the Delhi Government should respect the sentiments of 40 lakh Poorvanchalis in the city and declare a public holiday on November 19. He also raised a 13-point charter of demands for improving the facilities at Chhat puja ghats.

Meanwhile, the three Delhi Municipal Corporations under BJP have already announced their decision to have a holiday for Chhat puja and have passed a resolution to the effect and forwarded it to the Lieutenant-Governor for his approval.

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