MUMBAI,VAISHALI BALAJIWALE:After a long debate on the matter of a dry Ramkund, the corporation has released water into the holy pond in river Godavari.
The drought spell has affected Godavari too with the river running dry for the first time in ages. There has been a lot of debate on this issue with the main contention of the river bed being lined with concerte flooring which has closed the source of the natural springs in the river.
The water in river Godavari comes through the Gangapur dam which has only 4% water of its total capacity left now. The dam also provides drinking water to Nashik city which is already under the pressure of water cuts. With the monsoon not in sight yet, the water situation is still dear. Therefore, water was not being released from Gangapur dam into the river and that made Ramkund go dry.
Purohit Sangh, the group of priests who conduct religious rituals for people on the banks of river Godavari, has been consistently demanding that water be released into Ramkund. On the other hand, environmentalist have been against release of filtered water reserved for drinking purposes into the river. Instead, they have suggested using water from the logged area or rejuvenating of old wells by the side of the river. The Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) had even thought of digging a bore well, a move opposed by the river activists.
After a lot of debate, it was on Thursday night that the direct pipeline from the overhead tank of the NMC that supplies water to the Panchavati area was opened and water was released from Dhanushkund into Ramkund. Then, on Saturday afternoon, the lost water was refilled by tankers.
“One can understand that there has to be water in Ramkund for religious purposes, but using drinking water that is reserved for public in a situation of acute water scarcity is not understood,” objects Devang Jani, who has filed a PIL in the court demanding removal of the concrete on the river bed.
Jani adds that instead of using filtered water, the wells by the river, one old well near Laxamankund and three other near Datta mandir by the Gandhi talav which has been closed years ago, should have been rejuvenated and water from these wells poured into Ramkund. Jani’s insistence, however, remains on removal of the concrete so that the natural springs in the river bed could be opened and work as natural source of water for the river.
The priests, who have been at the receiving end of unhappiness of the devouts coming to Godavari to perform rituals, now express satisfaction. “With water in Ramkund, it is a better sight. The Simhastha Kumbhmela in Nashik is still going on. Many people still come to take the holy bath. There are many who come to perform the last rituals after the death of their kin. These people would go back unhappy with the Ramkund being dry. Now, the situation is better,” states Satish Shukla, president of Ganga Godavari Purohit Sangh. According to Shukla, there are important days like the ongoing Ganga Dashehara festival conducted for the river, Nirjala ekadashi on June 16, and many more such important days when people take bath in the river.
The executive engineer of NMC stated that the step to fill up Ramkund was necessary. “Initially, about 5 lakh litres of water has been released and now the refill of the losses due to use and evaporation will be done on daily basis with the help of tankers. These tankers fetch water from Indrakund which has a natural source of water,” he said.