Ujjain: River Kshipra, considered to be a holy river, appears to be in a perennially pathetic condition these days. Continuous death of fishes and lack of cleanliness at its main bathing ghats have in fact drawn wide-spread criticisms from different quarters. Moreover, a number of pilgrims who throng here to have a bath in the ‘holy’ river and take a glimpse of the Mahakal Jyotirlingam, have also expressed disappointment over its condition.
Although a few cubic feet of waters of river Narmada have been released into the Kshipra, the scenario continues to remain the same. About Rs 420 crore were spent to link the Narmada and Kshipra rivers, so as to ensure continuous flow of water in the Kshipra for bathing during the Simhastha Fair2016.
In addition, waters of the Narmada water is released at intervals for bathing purposes during major festival round the year and a huge amount is paid as electricity bills to pump the water. The Kahn river which carries industrial and domestic wastes of Indore city and merges withtheKshipra was also diverted near Raghopipliya,spending Rs 100 crore before the Simhastha Fair to ensure good quality of bathing water.
However,the utility of this project remains unfulfilled, as it has not yet been completed. Previously too, huge funds were used for maintaining the pious identity of the Kshipra, but nothing concrete ever happened. On visiting major ghats from Narsingh Ghat up to Mangalnath Ghat via Ram Ghat (eastern side of the river) and from Bhukhi Mata Mandir Ghat up to Siddhvat Ghat (western side of the river) via Dutta Akhara Ghat, one can easily see the worst face of the Kshipra.
Use of bathing soaps and detergent used to wash clothes, disposal of bags made of cloth, rubber and plastic and garlands besides idols are the common practices which the river has been subjected to every day. The Ujjain Municipal Corporation (UMC), who has put a notice board on the banks of river disallowing such practices, clean the ghats and river waters only on festive occasions such acts prove to be a mere eyewash. Subsequently, fishes have been dying every day in abundance and apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned has been black mark for the holy city of Ujjain.
Deepak Kanodiya, Career councillor, Indore
Can we wash our sins? “S ince Ujjain is famous as a religious city, thousands of people come here on a routine basis to take a bath in the river Kshipra and perform darshan of the Mahakal Jyotirlingam. But, when I reached at about 1.30 am (after Sunday midnight) at Ram Ghat, innumerable fishes were floating on the waters and a foul smell had engulfed the entire atmosphere there, which forced me not to have a dip in the river.
Generally pilgrims come at Ujjain to wash their sins, but looking at the condition of fishes, I decided to make a film instead. After discovering a huge quantity of waste materials in the river and on the banks, I have made up my mind on how local authorities function in Ujjain and what the media covers.”
Abhijit, Radio jockey, Indore
Everybody seems helpless in Ujjain “I had to attend Monday’s ‘bhasmaarti’ which starts every day at 4 am, but after visiting the ghats of river Kshipra, I decided not to go to the temple and instead performed temples’ ‘shikhar darshan’ from outside. I had called the Police Helpline and the police responded too but pleaded helplessness saying local bodies should own up responsibility. Does Kshipra have nothing to do after Simhastha Fair? What are environmentalists here doing? Is there any media present in the Mahakal city? I will not sit silently and am going to make a complaint on the CM Helpline. Before the limits are crossed, every alert person should getup to conserve the ancient and pious Kshipra river.”
MB OjhA, Divisional commissioner, Ujjain
Ongoing efforts are not enough “I ncidents of continuous death of fishes are occurring due to lack of oxygen in the river. We have released ample of water from river Narmada. Cleanliness arrangements have been streamlined by the Ujjain Municipal Corporation. I have asked the new collector Manish Singh to ensure aeration arrangements on a regular basis on the pattern of Simhastha Fair-2016. But, such efforts and initiatives are not enough. We have to ensure long-term planning and its effective execution to ensure perennial character of Kshipra. Constitution of a competent authority on the pattern of Narmada Valley Development Authority can be a good idea and I would pursue it with the State government.” –
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