NEW DELHI: With the UP government planning to conduct the Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 on a grand scale, big corporate houses — Reliance, Vedanta, Adani — are keen to take up river cleaning and various other works at the Sangam in Allahabad.
After receiving interest from corporate houses for being part of the Ardh Kumbh — January 15 to March 4 — the National Mission for Clean Ganga held a meeting in May to discuss the details. Another meeting was held with the UP government last week and the state has submitted a list of works that need the Centre’s support. These include 100,000 mobile toilet blocks, waste management at ghats like dustbins at every 100 metres and public outreach activities.
The Ardh Kumbh is held six years after the Maha Kumbh in Allahabad, which argubly is the largest religious gathering in the world. It is held on the banks of the ‘Sangam’ — the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. The 2019 Mela is expected to be attended by 12 crore people.
A senior water resources ministry official said Reliance group was initially interested in building permanent structures but was told those are not allowed on river banks. “Talks are on to involve them in providing mobile toilet blocks or other amenities. All funds from these business houses will be part of their corporate social responsibility,” said the official.
Reliance Jio has offered to support the information and communication platform for public outreach through its mobile network. IndusInd Bank will sponsor bioremediation activities in 15 of 35 nallahs that falls into the Ganga river in Allahabad.