The Delhi government on Wednesday announced that Chhath Puja celebrations would be taken place at designated spots in Delhi with strict Covid-19 protocols.
The decision comes after a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) with government officials.
The DDMA reversed its earlier order after growing demand from all major political parties, including the opposition BJP, the Congress and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi.
The DDMA had earlier prohibited the celebration of Chhath Puja in public places in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision had triggered protests by opposition parties, the BJP, and the Congress.
At a press briefing after the meeting with DDMA, the Delhi deputy Chief Minister said a decision was taken to give the go-ahead for Chhat Puja in Delhi along with very strict protocols and at designated places decided by the government.
After a meeting on September 30, the Covid management body in Delhi, the DDMA had banned Chhath Puja celebrations at public places, including at Yamuna riverbanks, water bodies and temples in Delhi.
Delhi has around 1,100 designated sites, most of them located on the banks of Yamuna, for Chhat Puja celebrations. Every year, the government makes arrangements at these sites — toilets, sheds, changing rooms, drinking water, lights, medical camps, etc.
Chhat Puja will be celebrated on November 10, 6 days after Diwali. It is a community festival involving worship of the Sun and taking dips in a water body.
It is popular among people from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, collectively called the Poorvanchal region. People from these states account for over one-third of Delhi’s population of around 20 million, the govt data from Census 2011 shows.
However, the Purvanchal community has a sizable number in Delhi that plays an important role in the elections.
The DDMA has also allowed for celebrations of Diwali in compliance with Covid appropriate behaviour.