ALLAHABAD: Taking up the cause of freeing Ganga from pollution, Australian national Andrew Turner, 45, will swim against the current of the river. At Sangam along with his family and friends from Australia and Canada, Turner is launching from Thursday a boat built by himself and named Karuna to ferry pilgrims free.

Participating in the mega Maha Kumbh again was a long cherished dream for Andrew and his companions since they attended the first pilgrimage way back in 1989. Andrew had tried to be there for Maha Kumbh in 2001 but could not make it.

ALLAHABAD: Agitated over high levels of pollution and shallow water in the holy Ganga, the Shankracharyas, seers and Dandi swamis, along with all the akaharas, are all set to repeat the feat of 2010 Mahakumbh of Hardwar — boycott the next 'Shahi Snan' on Mauni Amavasya scheduled for February 10.

These saints, on Friday, threatened that if the situation remained unchanged, they will not bathe in the next Shahi Snan. The alarming condition of the holy river, besides instigating saints to boycott the Shahi Snan, has become the poll plank for various political parties in the forthcoming general elections of 2014.

On the eve of the first ritual bath of Mahakumbh, which started over a week ago, a group of pilgrims from Bangalore spot a body in the Ganga where it meets the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.

“It was a grim sight ahead of the Mahakumbh. We looked the other way. What could we do?” said Santosh Lal, on her third Kumbh visit. Another body was fished out of the river at another spot the same day.

Sangam (Allahabad): Even as Shankracharyas, seers and Dandi swamis along with akharas have threatened to boycott the next ShahiSnan of MauniAmavasya on February 10 in view of the "poor health" of the Gnaga, Mela authorities on Saturday claimed that about 2,000 cusecs of water is being released from the Narora dam every day the Ganga.

Officials here maintained that the Ganga has enough water to take a holy dip and if the excessive water is being released into the river, there are chances that all the 19 temporary ghats will be washed away.

ALLAHABAD: Alarmed over the ever increasing level of pollution in the Ganga, especially in the backdrop of ongoing MahaKumbh and TOI publishing news on the deteriorating condition of the river, plu

The Maha Kumbh Mela, considered the largest public gathering in the world, will be the subject of a case study at Harvard University, which will study the logistics and economics behind it and the “pop-up mega-city” that comes to life in Allahabad during the religious event.

A team of faculty and students from Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), School of Design, Harvard Business School, School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Global Health Institute would travel to Allahabad for the project 'Mapping India's Kumbh Mela'.

As devotees struggle with low water levels and high pollution at Sangam in Allahabad, what may come as a surprise to many is the fact that the Prime Minister-headed National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGBRA), whose main role is to resolve issues related to the Ganga, has not met for many months, let alone strategise for the mega religious festival that could have been a case study for both government and pollution control agencies.

Rajendra Singh, a member of the NGRBA - the financing, planning, implementing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the Ganga - said the last time the high-level body met was in April 2012.

For the first time in its modern history, river activists are trying to utilise the occasion of Kumbh for what it was originally meant for a ‘manthan’ to differentiate the good from the evil, ‘devtas’ from ‘asuras’, the ‘amrit’ from the ‘vish’.

The plan is to use the occasion of Maha Kumbh, the biggest religious congregation on earth which begins in Allahabad on the occasion of Makar Sakranti next week, to help people differentiate between well wishers of rivers and their enemies and spread awareness about India’s gasping lifelines.

The Union Health Ministry, in its efforts to push for a countrywide ban on edible products containing tobacco, has written to all states and Union territories pointing to a 1982 Allahabad High Cour

Controversies and litigations threaten to derail a sector that once saw immense potential in India.

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