Tribune News Service
Mussoorie, October 18
Eminent environmentalist Suresh Bhai of the Himalayi Paryavaran Shiksha Sansthan based at Matali in Uttarkashi says both state and Union governments are playing politics and doing nothing to clean the Ganga. The pollution in the river can be witnessed right from Gangotri to Uttarkashi.
Suresh says dirty water from urinals constructed near temples flows into Surya Kund at Gangotri and various ashrams and hotels divert sewage into the Bhagirathi, making it dirty at the source.
He adds at Uttarkashi, around 32 million litre per day of dirty water is flowing into the Bhagirathi. This shows that the Namami Gange Mission of the Central government is a mere slogan. The work being done in the name of restoration at the banks of the Bhagirathi at Uttarkashi is jeopardizing the lives of the people and increasing pollution levels, says Suresh Bhai.
A large number of labourers involved in the restoration work and building sidewalls on the Bhagirathi banks are defecating in the river, adding to pollution.
Ashrams at Uttarkashi are also dumping sewage and other effluents into the Bhagirathi, says Suresh. While politicians bicker over the implementation of the eco-sensitive zone clause, which is otherwise required for the region, they show no concern for pollution in the Ganga. Polythene bags thrown by pilgrims into the Bhagirathi at Gangotri can be seen caught on the sides of iron railings in Uttarkashi. There is either no sewage treatment plant in towns and hamlets along the Ganga banks from Gangotri to Rishikesh or the existing ones are non-functional. This means untreated sewage is flowing into the river, turing her into a poisonous and unhygienic water body.
The National Green Tribunal in its recent observation has asked the government to tell it an inch of place where the Ganga is clean.
The Ganga aarti performed by temple priests at Rishikesh and Haridwar has a close resemblance to the hydrological cycle. However, to understand this one has to conjure up an image of the tip of the hour hand over the face of the clock, says Arun Sanon, author of a book on Ganga and a resident of Mussoorie. He says that the stand of flames moves in almost a vertical semicircle, swinging up an arc from 6 am position to the 9 am position where it is held for a short period. Then it climbs up an arc to the 12 noon position where again there is a pause. It is then brought down the axis in a serpentine movement, halting at the centre and then the stand is moved down to the position where it began. This movement is repeated several times with the priest facing north towards the courtyard. Then a similar exercise is performed in the direction of the Bhagirathi that flows past the eastern flank of the temple. Subsequently, the priest turns another quadrant to face the image of the Ganga in the temple and performs the same movement. This form of aarti has been handed over from generation to generation and one can gauge the significance of the Ganga as an important part of the whole cycle of life.
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