On the eve of the second shahi snan (Royal bath) on Sunday at Sinhastha Kumbh Mela, a foam-like formation was seen near Sangam ghat and workers of Nashik Municipal Corporation rushed to clear it. Environmentalist and locals alleged that cleaning won’t help much as heavy rains had brought in untreated sewage water into the Godavari river.
It attracted the attention of curious onlookers and devotees waiting to take the holy dip on the banks of Godavari. NMC commissioner Pravin Gedam rushed to the spot to get the river cleaned.
Gedam said, “There are many tiny tributaries and nallahs which enter Godavari and had dried up. On Saturday it rained heavily. All dirt in these dried up tributaries and nallahs was pushed into the river and hence a foam was seen. There is nothing to worry as it will be cleaned by midnight. It will not affect the shahi snan on Sunday.”
According to environmentalist Rajesh Pandit, the foam was from temporarily diverted nallahs. “The were 19 nallahs entering the river Godavari directly. Of these, NMC permanently diverted around 10-12 nallahs to the sewage treatment plant (STP). However, around four to five nallahs were temporarily directed near the entry point. It is possible that due to heavy rains on Sunday untreated sewage water overlapped the temporary diversions after getting flooded and entered the river water at the ghats.”
A PIL was filed in the Bombay High Court by Pandit to prevent the use of river water for human consumption. The petitioner had attached a report of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute that indicates the river water is unfit for human consumption.