The Indian Railways has provided special arrangements at the Anand Vihar Railway Station in Delhi as part of the rush of Chhath Puja. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Delhi High Court has upheld the Delhi government’s decision to ban any celebrations this year. As a result, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority(DDMA) issued an order to not allow public gathering for celebrations within Delhi. Hence the rush at the Railway Station of pilgrims returning to their hometown to celebrate.
Safety before celebrations
Special waiting sheds with TV and special announcements concerning Chhath Puja celebrations have been installed at the Anand Vihar station. To ensure pilgrims follow social distancing norms police are present. A team of doctors is also available in case of any medical emergency.
Railways have made sure to provide clean toilets also at the Anand Vihar station. A special help desk has opened at the station, especially for women commuters.
Ashutosh Gangwal, the General Manager, Northern Railway told ANI that they held a meeting to discuss the special arrangements required to maintain social distancing to manage the crowd. He further added that this year Indian Railways are scheduled to make 3,237 trips. This is three times last year’s 1,063 trips around Diwali and Chhath celebrations.
Chhath Puja mainly celebrated by the North Indian States falls on November 20 this year. Lord Surya (Sun God) and Chhaithi Maiya are revered and offered flowers, fruits, delicacies, and water on the day of Chhath. Married women take up fasting also as part of the rituals.
The pilgrims travelling welcomed the decision of the government to suspend celebrations. They were glad that Railways came up with safety measures at the Anand Vihar station. The pandemic has definitely put our lives on hold this year. Significantly, people traveling in public transports have to be very careful. Hence the steps taken by the Indian Railways have been well appreciated.
Malavika M S is an intern with SheThePeople.TV