ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 6, 2013 (India Times): In an unsettling situation on the eve of the Maha Kumbh beginning January 14, saints and seers of various akharas camping on the Mela site have come out openly against the "mismanagement and utter confusion" where they have to run from pillar to post for even basic civic amenities.
"What has aggravated the matters further is the fact that hundreds of seers, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of their followers, would be descending in the Mela area during the next few days. We don't know how the Mela administration would handle the pressure in the absence of proper basic facilities like drinking water, sanitary pipelines and borewells," said a leader of a prominent sect camping on the site. Sharing his plight with TOI, an office-bearer of Panch Dasnam Juna Akhara, O. P. Gaur, said: "Our akhara is the biggest in terms of strength of sadhus, mahamandaleshwars and naga saints, but sadly the Mela authorities have failed to provide us even the barest minimum facilities like a borewell pipe for supplying drinking water inside the camp. Instead, a small pipeline which has developed leakages immediately after installation, is the only source of water supply in the camp where apart from sadhus, women and children are also staying. As a result, we are forced to fetch drinking water from roadside taps situated at a distance of 550 yards from the camp. This only one example of the mismanagement."
He said that the matter was brought to the notice of Mela authorities, including the Mela Adhikari, after which some junior officials visited the spot and sent a team of laborers that only did some cosmetic repairs and the problem persists. "The tanker sent by Mela authorities visits the camp only once a day and the entire supply is exhausted within minutes given the huge demand of water in other camps also," he added.
Mela Adhikari, Ashutosh Dwivedi, told TOI over phone that "the issue would be addressed on a priority basis". He assured dispatching a team of officials to resolve the issue.