The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) today announced that it has banned Chhath festivities in the national capital. It said it would not allow gatherings at public places and river banks, fairs and food stalls. This is the second consecutive year of Chhath proscription due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The authority has advised people to celebrate the festival in their homes.
There was hardly any restriction in place during the recent celebration of Eid. Shoppers were not stopped from crowding the markets. No restriction was imposed on Muharram processions either.
“Fairs, melas, food stalls, jhoolas, rallies and processions will not be permitted during festivals in Delhi. Chhath pooja celebration shall not be allowed in public places and people are advised to celebrate the same at their homes,” the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) said in an official order.
The DDMA clarified that no standing or squatting will be allowed at festive events and only sitting on chairs with social distancing will be permitted.
“All event organisers will have to obtain requisite permissions from the district magistrate (DM) concerned for organising festival events, well in advance. No permission shall be granted by DMs or authorities for conducting any event in containment zones,” it said.
The authority, however, allowed the public celebration of other festivals preceding Chhath Puja such as Ramleela, Durga Puja and Dussehra while subjecting organisers to certain protocols and regulations.
“Chhath celebrations involve community rituals and taking dip in a water body, which is unsafe in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. So, we decided not to take the risk and encourage people to celebrate at their residences to avoid crowding,” said a senior DDMA official who did not wish to be identified.
Last year too, the DDMA did not allow the celebration of Chhath in public places. It had prohibited Durga Puja organisers from entertaining visitors at the venues and Ramleela organisers were asked to live-stream programmes. Dussehra rituals, which involve burning effigies, were allowed in a few locations with restrictions on the maximum size of crowd at each venue.
Meanwhile, Delhi recorded 41 Covid-19 cases with a positivity rate of 0.06% and zero fatality due to the infection on 29 September, according to a health bulletin issued by the city government.