Every year at the beginning of Chhath Puja, tremendous preparations begin on Juhu Beach in Mumbai to celebrate the festival with full zeal. However, this time due to COVID19, the energy of the festival has faded. Unlike every year when millions of people reach Juhu Beach to perform Chhath Puja from the city and the outskirts of Mumbai, this year witnessed emptiness with no crowd or preparation.
This time the state government has issued new guidelines regarding Chhath Puja in view of the Coronavirus pandemic under which, devotees are not allowed to perform Chhath Puja on the seashore.
In such a situation where preparations start a week in advance due to Chhath Puja on Juhu Beach, this time keeping in mind the guidelines of the government, the entire beach is deserted. Neither the stage of any culture program is visible, nor are the stalls arranged for the people. Every year lakhs of people come to the Juhu Beach on Chhath Puja, arrangements are made for them by the BMC and the police administration, but everything has come to a standstill under the strict guidelines of the government.
The government has appealed that people should not celebrate Chhath Puja publicly and there are strict prohibitions on celebrating on the seashore. For worshipping, artificial ponds have been made in every ward of BMC, through which puja has to be done. A team of police is present near the pond so that social distancing is observed. Wearing a mask is mandatory, otherwise punishments and actions will be taken. The BMC team has also been providing antigen test facilities near each artificial pool.
As a result, Juhu beach is completely empty on Chhath Puja so that the risk of infection of COVID19 is reduced. But the question is how the deadly infection can be prevented while offering arghas during puja at these artificial pools.