RANCHI: The Hemant Soren led Jharkhand government has banned the Chhath Puja in public water bodies due to COVID-19 pandemic. The state government said in an order that Chhath puja in water bodies including public ponds, lakes, rivers, dams, reservoirs will not be permitted in view of COVID-19 pandemic.

Issuing a statement, the government said, “The festival traditionally attracts huge congregations at Chhath Ghats. Due to the fixed timings of performing the aforementioned rituals, it is not possible to stagger these huge congregations to ensure social distancing.”

The statement read further that it is not possible to ensure the compliance of national directive of social distancing norms of ‘2 gaz ki doori’ while performing Chhath Puja in water bodies. “Therefore Chhath Puja in the waters of public pond/lakes/rivers/reservoirs/any other water body shall not be permitted so as to minimize the chances of spread of COVID-19 infection,” the government said in an order.

The official order further said that no stalls shall be set up by anyone on or near the banks of any water body. It also imposed restrictions on barricading and placing any special lighting by any individual on the ghats. Bursting of firecrackers and organisation of any musical or any other entertainment/cultural program to mark the festival has also been banned. 

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Considered the biggest festival dedicated to Sun God, Chhath Puja is mainly celebrated by people who hail from Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh. It spans over four days, and the fasting period lasts from Sunrise to Sunset. This year, the festival commences from November 18, 2020. 

Chhath Puja Day 1: Nahay-Khay: November 18 (Wednesday)
Chhath Puja Day 2: Lohanda and Kharna – November 19 (Thursday)
Chhath Puja Day 3: Sandhya Arghya – November 20 (Friday)
Chhath Puja Day 4: Usha Argh and Paran – November 21 (Saturday)

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