VARANASI: Noted environment scientist and expert member of UP State Ganga Samiti B D Tripathi has written to chief minister Aditya Nath Yogi demanding rejuvenation of Asi river to check pollution in the Ganga.

Tripathi claimed in his letter sent on Tuesday that pollution in the Ganga has aggravated due to diversion of the Asi stream and relocation of its confluence with the mighty river in upstream during implementation of Ganga Action Plan. Thus, he requested the CM, to take action to save the Ganga from pollution.

“The Asi, which has mythological importance, is today just a ‘drain’ carrying sewage and household wastewater only. We can’t think of cleaning the Ganga without saving and rejuvenating the Asi stream,” claimed Tripathi in the letter, a copy of which is in possession of TOI.

He added, ” It came to our notice that the bank side water of Ganga is turning blackish, which is the result of the accumulation of decomposed organic matters discharged through Asi nullah.”

Terming it as a serious threat to the Ganga, Tripathi said that the root cause of the problem is the diversion of Asi stream and relocation of its confluence with the former in the upstream during implementation of Ganga Action Plan, phase-I. “The technical blunder of dislocating the confluence during implementation of GAP-I has resulted in huge discharge of wastewater in the Ganga. Moreover, it is also destroying the crescent shape of the river that attracts millions since time immemorial,” he claimed.

GAP-I was launched in 1986 be the then Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi.

Tripathi said that by diverting Asi stream, its confluence with Ganga was shifted about half a kilometre on the upstream. “In fact, the crescent shape of Ganga lies between Rajghat in the down stream and Asi Ghat in the upstream, where Asi river was meeting with the Ganga. Earlier, due the crescent shape the water coming through Asi used to go to the strong midstream minimizing the chances of accumulation of pollutants along the bank,” said Tripathi.

He added that after the shift of confluence, the nature has changed completely and the pollutants remain stagnant along the bank causing the water to turn blackish.

“I have requested the CM to formulate an action plan for the rejuvenation of Asi river. Half of the problem of Ganga in Varanasi could be addressed effectively by saving and cleaning the Asi,” he said.

According to the District Gazetteer, the southern boundary of the city is the small Asi nullah, and from the confluence of this stream with the Ganga begins the long succession of ghats and temples.

As per Hindu history, Goddess Durga after achieving victory over demons Suma (Shumbha) and Nisuma (Nishumbha) rested at Durga Kund where her sword fell and carved out the channel of the Asi. The Assi Ghat is situated at the confluence of the Ganga and Asi rivers. Famous poet saint Tulsi Das wrote the Ramcharitmanas at this ghat.

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