Varanasi: The river of faith, Ganga, is changing course and appears to be moving away from the historic ghats of Varanasi, the abode of Kashi Vishwanath.
The timeless spectacle of thousands converging on the steps leading to the river, their mother goddess, has lost its sheen as the river is now flowing 7-10 feet away from the banks.
At the famous Dasaswamegh Ghat, close to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, the river is flowing nine feet away from the ghat steps. At Rajendra Prasad Ghat, Rajghat and Assi Ghat the river is seven, four and five feet away respectively from the ghats’ steps.
As per scientists associated with the Ganga Action Plan, the river is changing course due to massive pollution and lack of proper cleaning of the banks of the river.
Acharya Jitendra of the Ganga Mahasabha says that the administration is not working towards cleaning the Ganga; instead more and more pollutants are being pushed into it.
Moreover, the dams and barrages that have been built upstream are diverting increasing amounts of water for farming and other purposes. For example, around nine percent of Ganga’s waters are diverted to canals at the Bhimgouda barrage.
As per a report, the government has spent Rs 36,448 crore on cleaning the Ganga, yet at Varanasi the river is little more than a deadly cocktail of groundwater, sewage discharge and spillage from tributaries like the Yamuna and the Betwa.
Mythology has it that Goddess Ganga had promised Lord Shiva never to leave the ghats of his favourite abode but probably she had not factored in the indifference to her plight by the mortals she sustains with her water.