Chhath Puja Celebration Marred By AAP-BJP Bickering On Air, Water Pollution

| Updated: 30 October, 2022 2:13 pm IST

Like every year, Chhath Puja celebrations in Delhi-NCR have been marred by political bickering on air and water pollution in the national capital.  Even as devotees from Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad line up to take a dip in the water of Yamuna, politics is ruling the roost. Both AAP and BJP are sparring endlessly over whether the state government has done enough to control air pollution and water pollution during the festive season.

One one hand Delhiites are grappling with toxic air, the pollution in river Yamuna has enhanced the difficulties for the Chhatt devotees who will offer prayers to sun God on Sunday evening and Monday morning.

The AQI of Delhi (air quality index) continues to remain in “severe” category. On Saturday, the AQI of Delhi remained in very poor category 397 (touches severe category) and on Sunday morning it remained in very poor category.

As per Air Quality Early Warning System, AQI will remain in very poor and severe on October 30. It may go to under severe category on October 31 and November 1. This means AQI will hover over 400.

Due to the continuous rise in air pollution, the government has imposed stage 3 of GRAP (Graded Response Action Plan) in which all kinds of construction activities barring government projects have been banned. This is done to control dust particles in the air.

As per the Air Quality Management Commission “due to unfavourable meteorological conditions with slower wind speed and sudden spike in stubble burning incidents”, stage 3 of the GRAP has been imposed.

At the same time, chemical affluents in Yamuna river has dampened Chhath celebrations. A thick layer of toxic foam can be seen floating over river Yamuna.

The AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) run Delhi government at one side failed to restrict the pollution in Delhi, the neighbouring states ruled by the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has also not managed to control the stubble burning and vehicular pollutions.

Pollution is a cause of political war of words because the ruling AAP claims that Delhi poor air quality is mostly due to the inefficiency of other states, to which BJP argues that AAP tends to forget that now it is ruling Punjab as well.

As per Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai,  31 percent of pollution in Delhi is due to domestic reason, however 69 percent comes from neighbouring states. AAP continues to be tightlipped over stubble burning in neighbouring Punjab.

Reacting to a question posed by The New Indian, Rai said: “Kejriwal has asked for 5 years to clean Yamuna. There is time.”

Over 30 lakhs ‘purvanchalis’ (from eastern UP and Bihar) live in Delhi, who constitute a strong vote bank for the political parties. This explains political sparring over Yamuna’s toxic water ruining Chhath festivities.

AAP national convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday visited Ghazipur Landfill site and blamed the Delhi civic body ruled by the BJP for making three hills of garbage in the city. He said that for Delhi to be clean it was necessary that AAP won the corporation elections in Delhi.

Meanwhile, the BJP leaders – MP Manoj Tiwari, Parvesh Verma, Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Tijender Bagga visited Yamuna Ghats amid much fanfare to expose AAP’s inefficiency in tackling water pollution. They blamed the AAP who promised to clean Yamuna in five years is failed to do so. The drama also seen on October 28 when Verma was caught scolding an officer of Delhi Jal Board (DJP) for spraying chemical to purify the river water.

The BJP leaders claimed that the chemical was harmful for people who will take a dip during Chhath celebration. The AAP government however, claimed that the chemical was not harmful as its use is approved by FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and recommended by NMCG (National Mission of Clean Ganga).

On Saturday, Congress workers led by its Delhi chief Anil Kumar protested outside AAP office against ‘Poorvanchalis’ not being allowed to hold Chhath Puja at Yamuna ghats due to the “inaction and incompetence” of Delhi government.

Due to pollution and froth coming out from river Yamuna, Delhi government has allowed Chhath Puja on only eight Ghats. No puja celebration is allowed in east Delhi ghats and south east Delhi’s Kalindi Kunj Barrage.

Delhi government claimed to have set up arrangements at 1100 locations for Chhath Puja celebrations in the national capital. Temporary pit have been made for offering prayers.

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