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Nashik’s sacred pond dries for the first time in 130 years

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Image source: www.dnaindia.com

Water scarcity in Maharashtra has left Nashik’s sacred Ramkund pond dry for the first time in 130 years.

Thousands of pilgrims expected to converge in Ramkund for a holy dip on Gudi Padwa on April 8 would be unable to do so.

“Tomorrow, (Friday) on the occasion of the auspicious Gudi Padwa, thousands of pilgrims expected to turn up at Ramkund will not be able to take the holy dip, at least till July-end,” Nashik Municipal Corporation’s Deputy Mayor Gurmeet Bagga told IANS.

The cemented Ramkund has now become a playground for children who play cricket and football there, Bagga said.

The civic body seems to have run out of options available to replenish the water in the holy reservoir in the river bed.

It is now toying with the idea of digging borewells on the river banks in a bid to replenish the Ramkund – which is also the main pilgrimage centre during the Kumbh Mela. However, the project depends on several factors, including religious sentiments and cost.

Besides, there is no guarantee that borewells will be a solution to the problem since the groundwater table in the district has plummeted, Bagga said.

The Purohit Sangh has now appealed to the Nashik Municipal Corporation authorities to arrange water to enable the priests and the faithfuls to perform the basic religious rituals on Friday.

The priests have suggested alternative water arrangements be made from some nearby reservoir to fill the Ramkund enough to facilitate the holy dips, but authorities are yet to respond.

At present, Bagga said, the corporation was supplying around 100 litres per head per day (LPHPD) to Nashik residents as against the national norm of 130 LPHPD, and soon this will dip to around 80 LPHPD due to acute water scarcity.

“Our target is to conserve water till the third week of July when heavy rains start and continue till mid-August to replenish the water bodies,” Bagga said.

Meanwhile, water scarcity has severely hit trade as well as summer tourism in the district. Several farmers have committed suicide in the state due to severe drought. (IANS)

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Elephant Death Toll in Zimbabwe Rises to 200 Amid Severe Drought

He says animals including giraffe, buffalo and impala are also dying and the situation can improve only after rains return

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Zimbabwe, Elephants, Drought
FILE - A herd of elephants walk past a watering hole in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, Oct. 14, 2014. VOA

Zimbabwe’s parks agency says more than 200 elephants have died amid a severe drought, and a mass relocation of animals is planned to ease congestion.Zimbabwe

Spokesman Tinashe Farawo on Tuesday said at least 200 elephants have died in vast Hwange National Park alone since October and other parks are affected.

He says animals including giraffe, buffalo and impala are also dying and the situation can improve only after rains return.

Zimbabwe, Elephants, Drought
Spokesman Tinashe Farawo on Tuesday said at least 200 elephants have died in vast Hwange National Park alone since October and other parks are affected. Pixabay

Many animals are straying from Zimbabwe’s parks into nearby communities in search of food and water. The parks agency has said 33 people have died from conflict with animals this year alone.

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The agency says it plans to move 600 elephants, two prides of lions and other animals from the Save Valley Conservancy in the southeast to less congested parks. (VOA)