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Allahabad: In the first such study, social psychologists from British and Indian universities have found that kalpwasis, rural pilgrims who live in the Sangam area for one month every year in Janua

Sangam (Allahabad): Sometimes a walk can change your life -- as well as the lives of millions of others.

Arail (Allahabad): There is a Brazillian who is part of the Save Ganga campaign. Meet Swami Premji from Sau Paulo, disciple of a swami in Rishikesh, in Kumbh City to set an example and inspire Indians to save the holy river. He has come prepared along with 200 disciples. “We will start work on the project in a couple of days,” he told TOI.

His concern for the Ganga is 14 years old. “I came to India in 1999 and have seen Ganga deteriorating,” he said, recalling that last year when he was walking on the Lakshman Jhoola, the state of Ganga reminded him of Tiete the river that passes through Sau Paulo. “Tiete has turned into a dead river and authorities are struggling to give it a new leash of life. Fearing a similar fate for Ganga, I thought the time to act is now,” said swami Premji.

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.

Airlines, hotels and tour operators likely to see a boom in business activities

The ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad is projected to generate about Rs 12,000 crore of revenues and create over 6 lakh job opportunities. Airlines, hotels and tour operators are likely to witness a boom period in their economic activities due to the Maha Kumbh and contribute Rs 12,000 crore revenues to the state coffers in Uttar Pradesh.

Ahead of Makar Sankranti, when thousands of people from the city are planning to take a holy dip in river Ganga, the holy river continues to be contaminated by untreated sewage and tannery waste.

Allahabad: Maha Kumbh, the world’s biggest gathering of humanity, is set to begin on Monday when an estimated 1.1 crore devotees will take the holy dip at Sangam on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. All arrangements seem to be in place except for one problem — there isn’t enough water in the Ganga for the mass ritual.

Experts at Allahabad University and UP Pollution Control Board said there’s just knee-deep water at Sangam and around three feet at the main bathing areas. The level in the post-monsoon season should be two-three metres above this, they said

Airlines, hotels, tour operators and Uttar Pradesh in general are likely to reap a windfall during the Maha Kumbh Mela in the state with the government likely to see its coffers swelling by Rs 12,000 crore, according to an industry body.

ASSOCHAM's paper 'Maha Kumbh Mela 2013- Possible Revenue Generation Resources for Uttar Pradesh' says that the pilgrimage would generate additional employment opportunities for over six lakh workers in sectors spanning airlines and airports, hotels, tours, infrastructure and also trigger a surge in medical and eco-tourism.

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.

How does participation in a long-duration mass gathering (such as a pilgrimage event) impact well-being? There are good reasons to believe such collective events pose risks to health. There are risks associated with communicable diseases. Moreover, the physical conditions at such events (noise, crowding, harsh conditions) are often detrimental to well-being.

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