Tribune News Service
Haridwar, March 11
Saints, under the aegis of Akhil Bharatiya Sanatan Sant Samaj, have demanded that Chief Minister Harish Rawat and Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department ensure substantial flow of water at Ganga ghats in Neel Dhara, Bhoopatwala and Khadkhadi.
Swami Lalitanand Giri Maharaj, who is staging an indefinite fast for the past five days at Saptsarovar-based Bhoomanand Ganga ghat, today said despite repeated reminders and a symbolic agitation carried out last month, the state government, the District Administration and the Irrigation Department had not taken any measures to ensure sufficient flow of water at the Ganga ghats.
The seer said due to paucity of water at Sapt Rishi, Neel Dhara, Bhoopatwala and Khadkhadi Ganga ghats, saints as well as pilgrims were facing inconvenience in taking the holy dip and performing religious rituals.
Shri Mahant Vinod Giri Maharaj, national president of Akhil Bharatiya Sanatan Sant Samaj Samiti, lamented that no heed was being paid to the demands of seers and local people. As a result, saints had to take the agitation route.
“Even the main stream flow of the Ganga at Neel Dhara –Chandi ghat setu stretch is devoid of sufficient water, making it deserted. Saints and pilgrims from across the country are coming here during the Ardh Kumbh but no substantial action is being taken to ensure continuous water flow at Neel Dhara. The levelling of Ganga ghats needs to be done and also water flow at original course needs to be ensured,” said Mahant Giri Vinod Maharaj.
City Mayor Manoj Garg has also lent his support to the saints’ agitation. He said the state government and the District Administration’s apathy towards the issue was clearly visibile as a saint was into the fifth day of his fast but no one from the government or the administration had come to the agitation venue to enquire about his health.
Dharamshala Samiti representative Vikas Tiwari, extending support to the agitation, said if sufficient water flow was not ensured in the coming days, they would be forced to intensify the agitation.
Tulsi Manas temple spiritual guru Arjun Puri Maharaj, Umeshwar Dham spiritual head Maha Mandaleshwar Swami Uma Bharati Maharaj, Dr Premanand, Dr Lalitanand and Maha Mandaleshwar Swami Shivanand Maharaj also expressed their resentment at the low flow of water at Ganga ghats. They said seven streams of the Ganga used to flow at Sapt Rishi but now not even a single stream was visible at the ancient site.
“Saints as well as pilgrims are hurt as the Sapt Rishi Neel Dhara is a revered place, mentioned in the Vedic scriptures. Diverting water for the Ganga canal, construction works, hydro power projects and the other works being done have resulted in the Ganga ghats being devoid of sufficient water,” said Manoj Jakhmola, BJP state general secretary, and Anirudh Bhatti, BJP divisional general secretary.
Bhoomapeethadeeshwar Swami Achityunanad Maharaj has asked the Uttarakhand and the Uttar Pradesh Governments to amicably resolve the issue as Uttar Pradesh still controlled the Ganga canal operations in Haridwar, owing to non-settlement of property disputes between the two neighbouring states.
Later in the day, Purushottam Sharma, OSD to CM for Ardh Kumbh affairs, arrived at the agitation venue and assured the saints about raising this issue with the Chief Minister.
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