Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], November 18 (ANI): Mumbai's Mahim area, which is popular among the Chhath devotees for buying bamboo baskets and winnowers, wore a deserted look, even as the four-day festival began on Wednesday.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra government has imposed a lockdown in the state till November 30.
Also following Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's restrictions on Chhath Puja celebrations at beaches, riversides and lakes, bamboo artisans in Mumbai say their sales have dipped.
"This year sales are low as customers are scared to venture out. The government should help us," said an artisan.
A street vendor, Arjun, said their sales have decreased significantly as many people have migrated back to the eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand and UP -- where Chhath is one of the biggest festivals -- and operations of the local trains have been restricted.
"Our situation gets worse when Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officials drive us away from pavements. They even broke our huts built on the pavements," said Arjun who used to earn around Rs 600 per day.
He added the survival of his family has become very difficult as he is hardly earning anything because of the lockdown. "I live with my wife and four children. Some people brought us food grains, due to which we are still alive. Otherwise, we would have died of hunger."
Meanwhile, the devotees said the restrictions can't dampen their enthusiasm. "I, along with my family, will celebrate the festival with full enthusiasm. I hope the COVID-19 vanishes soon," said a woman.
The Chhath festivities began with nahay khay on Wednesday when Maharashtra reported 5,011 new COVID cases, with 6,608 recoveries and 100 deaths.
The total number of cases in the state has reached 17,57,520, the highest in the country. There are 80,221 active cases, while 16,30,111 patients have recovered so far. The death toll is at 46,202. (ANI)