500 cyclists rally to clean Ganga

Indian men search for coins and gold in the polluted waters of the Ganga river at Sangam after the Kumbh Mela festival, in Allahabad on April 2, 2013. The two month long Kumbh Mela, celebrated every 12 years at the conjunction of two sacred rivers on the outskirts of the northern Indian city of Allahabad, drew massive crowds of devotees, ascetics and foreign tourists till its conclusion on March 10. AFP PHOTO/SANJAY KANOJIA (Photo credit should read Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images)

Haridwar: About 500 activists will cycle all the way to the Bay of Bengal in support of a clean Ganga, a spiritual group said on Wednesday.

Some 100 cyclists began the campaign from here in Uttarakhand on Tuesday. They will be joined by 100 cyclists each in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal, the Gayatri Parivar said.

“The cycle rally will cover the entire route of the Ganges,” a Gayatri Parivar spokesman told IANS. The river, considered holy by Hindus, covers some 2,500 km through five states before flowing into the Bay of Bengal.

Pranav Pandya, who heads Gayatri Pariwar, said in a statement that the cyclists will interact with villagers living along the river and urge them to keep the Ganga clean at all times.

“It is very important to create awareness among the people living on the banks of this holy river,” he said.

“The cyclists will move to every village and town from Gangotri to Ganga Sagar in West Bengal,” he added.

The cyclists will also plant trees along the banks of the Ganges.