News Source: The Times Of India, The Indian Express | Image Source: pageresource
Right to access of clean water is the constitutional right and as per the government policy, the first priority is to supply the water for drinking purpose and ‘shahi snan’ comes in the second. So why the U turn on the policies that government makes.
The Bombay High Court has asked the state government in Maharashtra to reconsider its decision to release water for the ‘third shahi snan’ (holy dip) during the ongoing Kumbh mela in Nashik.
Observing that this was a very serious issue, the court said: “We direct the government to reconsider releasing water for the ‘shahi snan’. We expect the government to take a decision on the issue before September 18,” said the bench, directing an appropriate officer of the government to file an affidavit in the matter by September 21 as reported by The Indian Express
The state has already released two thousand million cubic water from Nashik’s Gangapur dam for the holy bath and is due to release 1 thousand million cubic today before the last dip is taken.
The petition seeking quashing of the state’s decision to release was filed by HM Desarda, an economic professor from Pune. Justices A S Oka and V L Achliya were hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) that pointed out to the release 3TMC water from Gangapur dam for the Kumbh Mela. The Kumbh Mela started on July 14 and the next shahi snan is on September 18. The Kumbh Mela will end on September 25. The government has allowed release of 1 TMC for each holy dip.
The petition said that the water released would be sheer waste keeping the massive drought in the state. The National Water Policy gives first preference to drinking followed by agriculture and at last for commercial purposes.
As per The Times Of India “Religious purpose is not mentioned in the list and ought to come after the first three were fulfilled,” said Prof Desarda. He said deaths of 35 farmer in seven days is a concern. “Kumbh Mela takes place in Nashik once every 12 years, and its water reservation remains unaffected despite a harsh drought in most parts of Maharashtra.” The petition stated that the release of water also violates the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act 2005.
The court observed that it is beyond doubt that there is huge shortage of water while the government pleander has however said that lakhs of devotees would take a dip and such a move would create law and order situation.