PATNA: Amid the fear of sudden rise in COVID-19 cases during winter, the Patna district administration has engaged 75 big water tankers to fetch holy water from the river Ganga to distribute among the Chhatha-devotees in each of the 75 wards of the state capital.
The water-tanker, filled with Gangaajal, will reach the wards on Thursday - the day of Kharna (a ritual of a day before the evening of Chhatha).
Confirming this, Patna divisional commissioner Sanjay Kumar Aggarwal said that the fleet of 75 water tankers will be in service from Wednesday. "One litre of Gangaajal will be provided to each devotee free of cost for preparing the prasad and mixing it with normal water at their homes for offering prayer," Aggarwal said.
According to a rough estimate, more than 5 lakhs of devotees alone perform the Chhatha festival in Patna besides other suburban areas. The Chhatha festival of Patna is famous as more than 15 to 20 lakhs of devotees assemble at different ghats of river Ganga and Gandak in Patna and Hajipur areas.
Aggarwal said that water tankers engaged in fetching Gangaajal for devotees will get water filed from Ganga at different ghats including the Digha-ghat. The same arrangement has also been done in Hajipur; about 7 km from Patna across the river Ganga, wherein a sea of Chhatha devotes descend to perform Chhatha festival.
He flagged off the fleet of water tankers on Tuesday in Patna, directing the drivers of each tanker to station the tankers with Gangaajal in each of 74 wards from Wednesday to Friday. "This kind of arrangement will help people in avoiding gathering at ghats during COVID-19 crisis. However, gathering of devotes will still be allowed with proper social distancing at ghats with face masks mandatory to all," he said.
He also said that special traffic arrangements have also been made to ensure smooth traffic during pooja days. "NDRF, SDRF and police teams will be deputed at all ghats and strategic places throughout the Chhatha days in addition to medical teams," he said.