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“No no why should we go to Ganga Ghats? Polluted drain waters with dirtiness everywhere, it will be very risky. We will perform all rituals at the artificial tank built on rooftop,” virtually cried Sangita, a young homemaker here when she was asked about her preparation for the Chhath festival here.
There was a time when the Chhath revelers used to feel privileged if they had the opportunity to avail river Ganga for performing the Chhath related rituals. But today the devotees preferred not to visit any river Ghats of Ganga. Interestingly, many devotees who reside just beside the river, do not go to the river rather prefer to conduct the rituals in their houses in makeshift ponds etc.
Sifting of main current of river Ganga from most of the cities and towns in Bihar and subsequent negligence by parts of government machineries have put a big question before the Chhath revelers how to conduct their rituals besides river banks of Ganga?
Members of the volunteer organizations or the social bodies who come up for maintaining the river Ghats effortlessly, however provided moral supports to the devotees to visit the river banks for conducting the rituals.
Barely two days are left for the most scared of all the festivals, Chhat, but the actual condition of Ganga Ghats falling inside this ancient silk city has put the devotees in lurch. More or less the condition is same elsewhere in other cities and towns in Bihar. District administration as usually woke up from its slumber at the 11 th hours but due to inadequate man power and also scarcity of funds, it has started depending on the volunteer organizations for maintaining the river Ghats here.
Bhagalpur Municipal Corporation (BMC) which is concerned for the maintenances of river Ghats here, however started providing Rs 2000-3000 to such social bodies who decked up for their volunteer services at the river Ghats. On the otherhand, BMC reportedly utilizing over Rs 14 crores annually for maintaining the river Ghats here, this was reveled through a RTI. One Raj Kamal, a native of Deepnagar locality in the city earlier on May 13, 2015 asked BMC about the expenditures on banks of river Ganga here through RTI. On October 9, 2017 he was informed by BMC that on 2015 the budget for maintenance of river Ghats was Rs 14.12 crore but since government didn’t allot the fund, BMC had somehow managed the works from its own resources.
“Look the contaminated water, it is not the water of this river rather it is accumulated here through the sewage and entire drains from this city,” many youths who come forward for maintaining the Chhat Ghats told angrily. They pointed out how this time all Ghats turned very risky mainly due to mud. The muds made the Ghats more slippery which compounded the problem further. “The devotees still consider it as river Ganga and have already started rituals at this river Ghat so we have decided to arrange properly for them for the two Sadar SDO, Roshan Kuswaha who also holding additional charge of town commissioner, BMC who inspected different river Ghats here last evening, expressed serious concern over the poor conditions of river Ghats. Seema Sah, mayor BMC was not available for her comment on such poor conditions of river Ghats here.main days,” a member of the Chhath Puja Samity told.
Except Barari Pul Ghat where the main current touches the river banks, the conditions are almost the same in other river Ghats at Bhagalpur city. “Due to the shifting of river Ganga towards north, the main current also shifted away from the river Ghats here. But since the main current of the river touches only Barari pul Ghat, maximum devotees want to go there but due to congested parking places for the vehicles, the narrow road remains overcrowded and the devotees have to face tremendous difficulties.,” many residents pointed out here.
Many Chhath puja organizers alleged BMC for dumping garbage to the river Ghats. “What the hell with the garbage now we could do? BMC has spoiled almost all the river banks here,” alleged Rajiv Kumar a member of Sanjeev Smrity Chhath puja committee at Manik Sarkar Ghat here. It is pertinent to note here that since BMC yet not has its own dumping yard for dispose of the garbage, it in many occasion dump garbage on river banks here.
“I don’t know why only the time of Chhath the government machineries have swung into action for river Ganga, why not in other days?” asked many residents here.
Like Sangita many residents here this year prefer to conduct all rituals at their house rather visiting any Ghat here. “ Drains’ water has started flowing as the main river course shifted away. Garbage dumped at the Ghat so this time I had no option rather to make a makeshift pond at my garden in my house,” some of them pointed out.
The common refrain is water in Ganga has become polluted due to accumulation of swage and drian waters and may cause infection. People have stopped going there due to dirt and filth on Ganga Ghatas.
More than 65 percent Chhath revelers at Bhagalpur stopped visiting Ghats along bank of river Gangaand prefer to offer ‘Arghya’ at artificial pools constructed either on rooftops or in the garden. Some of the devotees have built water tanks for the purpose while others resorted to huge bathtubs to perform the rituals.