DDMA likely to take up ban on observance of Chhath Puja at public places in Capital
Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal will convene a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) along with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to assess the COVID-19 situation next week.
According to government sources, the authority is following the assessment of the declining trend of COVID-19 infections and is likely to discuss the ban on observance of Chhath Puja at public places in the Capital, during the meeting which is scheduled on Wednesday.
COVID cases have been continuously declining, along with the death rate, in the city on a daily basis. The DDMA had, however, cautioned against letting the guard down and issued orders to the effect that citizens be advised to observe the Chhath Puja at home.
Lack of permission for the festival, scheduled after Diwali in early November, had snowballed into a political issue earlier this month with the BJP and AAP-led Delhi government accusing each other of being “anti-Purvanchal” and the Congress levelling the same charge against both the parties.
This was followed by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia writing to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, seeking the constitution of a committee of experts to come up with specific guidelines to prevent COVID infection during the observance of the festival.
The Centre had replied stating that each State government was empowered to do so on its own. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had then written to Mr. Baijal asking that a meeting be convened to discuss the issue as soon as possible, in addition to granting permission for the observance for the festival.
North-east Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, who had taken up the issue, had claimed this development as a victory for his party.
Sources said a detailed assessment of the COVID-19 situation in the city would be taken up at the meeting on October 27 with a special emphasis on infection trends, if any, recorded in relation to Durga Puja venues.
Though permission was likely to be granted, this was likely to be subject to strict regulation as well as for low-key celebrations with a special emphasis on a public awareness campaign seeking to urge as many devotees as possible to observe the festival at home.