Pandemic pangs after Chhath violations? | Ranchi News

Ranchi/Jamshedpur/Bokaro: With devotees across Jharkhand offering the morning arghya (prayers and offerings) to the rising sun on Saturday, chhath celebrations came to an end in the tribal state with no major incident related to the festivities being reported. Although low-key keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic, a large number of people gave the Covid norms a miss.
In Ranchi, a significant number of people avoided the traditional chhath ghats and performed the rituals at the temporary waterbodies created in their areas and on their terraces.
Binod Sinha, a resident of Kokar, said, “We formed a water pool on our roof where the rituals were performed, but the cloudy weather posed a challenge in having a sight of the sun.”
However, at the ghats, blatant violation of chief minister Hemant Soren and the district administration’s appeals to adhere to the pandemic norms were noticed. Most of the people were seen not wearing masks and crowding in large numbers.
A group of teenage girls who were spotted without masks said, “We realise safety norms are important, but getting a selfie and being recognised in a group photo is also necessary.”
Kotwali ASP Mukesh Kumar said, “We were distributing masks among the devotees at the entrance gates and the chhath committees were issuing frequent appeals to the people to ensure compliance of the safety norms.”
SP (rural) Naushad Alam said, “We tried to persuade the visitors to wear masks. However, a section of them chose to ignore our advice.”
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team saved Aditya Lohra (8) from drowning in Kanke dam. Aditya had gone to the dam with his friends to take a bath. Fortunately, the NDRF team was present at the spot when Aditya lost control and was drowning. He regained consciousness at a local hospital.
The district administration was on the vigil at the ponds and rivers to ensure law and order and drones were used to keep vigil at important ghats of city, including Dhurwa Dam, Kanke Dam, Bada Talab, Chadri Talab and Button Talab.
In Jamshedpur, devotees thronged dedicated ghats on the banks of Subernarekha, Kharkhai and Domuhani rivers and at other waterbodies marked as chhath ghats. A cloudy weather and intermittent drizzling for a short period in the early hours of Saturday did not dampen the festive spirit as devotees stood ground until the rituals were over.
“This year, a large number of families performed the rituals at the temporary artificial ponds in their colonies to stay safe amid the pandemic. This led to less crowding at the ghats along the rivers,” said the convenor of Kendriya chhathh Puja Aayojan Samiti (KCPAS), Anand Bihari Dubey.
Earlier on Friday, people offered prayers to the setting sun amid safety and security arrangements made by the district administration at all the ghats. Constant announcements were also made to ensure compliance of the pandemic norms.
However, unlike other years, cultural programmes were missing near the ghats. “The usual prolonged cultural programmes were missing leading us to feel something is amiss at the ghats,” said 64-year-old Sakchi resident K P Singh, who visited Sidhghora’s Surya Mandir.
In Bokaro, the crowd was divided among those who performed the rituals at makeshift waterbodies and their roofs and at those who visited the ghats. Violations of the pandemic rules were rampant here too despite repeated appeals from the administration.
Dilip Singh, a resident of Sector 2/B said, “We chose to stay at home and offered our prayers to the Sun god from a small water tub. Amid the pandemic, it is only wise to avoid large gatherings.”
Bokaro MLA Biranchi Narayan offered his prayers at his home while his wife Neena Narayan offered arghaya at a temporary water tank. The five prominent ponds of the BSL township saw huge gatherings on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
The ghats at Garga River in Chas also witnessed a huge turnout. There were nine points where makeshift bridges were installed by the Chas Municipal Corporation (CMC). In Bermo, the ghats brimmed with devotees, giving out a vibe that all is well at a time when the pandemic is yet to be brought under control.

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