The Ganapathi pooja conducted at the carriageway of North Overbridge on Thursday before its demolition has come under fire from rationalists and political leaders.

Officials of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation washed their hands off the responsibility of the ritual by stating that the pooja was performed by the representatives of the firm that won the contract for the work.

Biju Varghese, project manager of the CVCC-RDS Joint Venture, which is implementing the work, said they perform such poojas at the beginning of the work at some sites. The Ganapathi pooja was performed by priests of a temple in the city, he said. Another official of the company said the ritual was performed as the task in hand was a risky one.

P. Rajeev, MP, termed the act as an unhealthy practice, which should have been avoided for public projects like construction of roads and overbridges. The performance of such rituals doesn’t augur well with the secular credentials of the country where people of different religious faiths live. Even many scientists are found following such practices before commencing scientific works and projects. Such practices should be discouraged, said Mr. Rajeev.

Sreeni Pattathanam, general secretary of the Bharatiya Yukthivadi Sangham, said the act revealed the lack of rationalism and scientific temperament in people who were involved in the project. There were scientific ways to overcome hurdles in scientific projects and resorting to such rituals would not solve any problem, he said.

Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany, who attended the ceremony, said he participated in the event on invitation from the implementing agencies. “I took part in the event as it marked the beginning of a major project in the city,” Mr. Chammany said.

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