Kolkata: The KMDA (Kolkata Municipal Development Authority) has requested the NGT (National Green Tribunal) for granting permission for Chhath puja rituals inside the Rabindra Sarobar Lake.

However, the National Green Tribunal on Thursday (September 17) rejected the plea of state agency Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) for granting permission for Chhat puja in Rabindra Sarobar this year (2020) with restrictions, and upheld its previous order banning any such ritual there to save its ecosystem.

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Environmentalist Subhash Dutt filed a case against performing Chhat Pujo at Rabindra Sarobar Lake in 2017. After that, the court banned Chhat Pujo at Rabindra Sarobar. But with KMDA in charge, Chhath puja was performed in 2018 and 2019 at Rabindra Sarobar Lake in violation of the ban.

This year (2020), KMDA has demanded that Chhat Pujo should be allowed in Rabindra Sarobar Lake by following all the rules and precautions. However, during the hearing at the Green Tribunal, environmentalist Subhash Dutta strongly objected to this proposal. KMDA's plea was later rejected on Thursday (September 17).

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Provincial Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, referring to the 2021 Assembly Elections, said, “Apart from Biharis, millions of Bengalis take part in Chhath puja. However, at the moment, the state government is trying to win the hearts of Biharis for the upcoming elections. Therefore, they are demanding such meaningless things.”

Although Firhad Hakim said, “Unfortunately, no importance was given to this issue. We will approach the Supreme Court.”

BJP leader Shamik Bhattacharya said, “Attempts are being made to divide Biharis and Bengalis by thinking of votes.”

On the reason behind moving the NGT again, KMDA CEO Antara Acharya had said, "There is religious sentiment involved and many women and children gather at the spot. It is difficult to prevent them from entering the lake compound."

Rabindra Sarobar is part of the National Lake Conservation Plan of the Government of India. The huge lake and the surrounding grounds are used for several sporting activities from rowing, swimming competitions to cricket, football, and other activities.