June 22, 2018

Shravani Mela upgrade push

Bhagalpur: The month-long Shravani Mela at Sultanganj that will start this year from July 28 is likely to be upgraded to a state mela.

According to instructions from the state government, the local administration sent a 14-page proposal with the content of the history and other mela-related affairs recently to the revenue department. Land and revenue minister Ram Narayan Mandal, who visited Bhagalpur on Sunday, said the government has initiated granting Shravani Mela the status of a state mela. He said the chief secretary had been asked to complete all formalities with the district magistrate. “The revenue department will forward the proposal for making Shravani a state mela to the cabinet for approval,” he said.

Bhagalpur district magistrate (DM) Pranav Kumar told The Telegraph that a special messenger was sent to the principal secretary of the revenue department on June 9 with the proposal as per the directive from the state headquarters.

The DM’s proposal gives a brief history and significance of the month-long mela in which lakhs of saffron-clad pilgrims not only from different parts of the country but also from abroad fetch holy Ganga water and walk barefoot to the temple of Lord Baidyanath at Deoghar in Jharkhand covering a distance of 108km.

The demand of making Shravani Mela a state mela gathered momentum from 2013 when the state headquarters and the district administration started exchanging correspondence. Prior to that, the demand had been continuing for more than two decades.

The DM, however, told on Monday that every year, the government arranged funds for the month-long mela but after getting the status of a state mela, the nomenclature of the mela will automatically be upgraded with flow of money as well as many avenues to run the mela more systemically. “We are expecting the announcement to be made on the mela inaugural day on July 28,” added the DM.

According to sources, several proposals were sent to the revenue department such as renovation of river banks, making a bypass road to Sultanganj township to avoid the chaotic situation mainly owing to heavy rush of pilgrims, making sanitary and other civic systems more effective, water treatment plant to rid the river of pollution from the Sultanganj township and its surrounding areas.

“The river banks of Ganga at Sultanganj have been proposed to be developed on the pattern of Har ki Pauri of Haridwar,” the source said. But he said the frequent change in the river course often and subsequent drying up of the river were some of the main challenges before the mela.

“The administration could request departments like the National Council for River Ganga to dredge the river silt, which divert its flow or to make channels to divert the water flow towards the river banks at Sultanganj,” said the source.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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