he man who single-handedly cleaned a holy river in Punjab has detected the release of polluted water in the Ganges even during the Kumbh mela, during which an estimated ten crore people are scheduled to take holy dips during the three month-long fair in Allahabad.
"I was aghast to see that the polluted water of Allahabad city was being released in the river in which crores of people take holy dips. I even clicked pictures between 10 and 7 January," Baba Balbir Singh Seechiwal, who has undertaken to clean the 180 km long Kali Bein river of Punjab, told The Sunday Guardian.
He said, "With the water being so dirty, one may go to hell (due to poor health), instead of Baikunth (heaven) after ablutions and drinking the holy water."
Just because of the feelings of the people, the river always remains revered.
Seechiwal has reduced the TDS (total dissolved solids) of the river in Punjab to a level between 100 and 130 from above 1,000 TDS in 2000. The voluntary work done by lakhs of people inspired by the saint has led to the most part of the river being cleaned. Except for Bholath and Tanda, the rest of the towns in Punjab have stopped releasing their polluted water into the river in which Guru Nanak had taken a bath. Children from villages around the river are preparing around 80,000 saplings to be planted. A people's movement has picked up.
The saint went to Allahabad and stayed in the Nirmal Panchayati Akhara and planted trees there twice.
Seechiwal has a simple solution to the problem of river pollution. He says it will take just ten saints from a town to gather and stop municipal bodies, industries and the people from releasing effluents into the Ganga and Yamuna, and make them as pious as ever within no time.
The Sikh saint said, "I saw the passion for the Ganga amongst the babas during their fight for taking a bath first. But if that is converted into the one to make it clean, there is no question that the river is as pure as during the mythical period."
Saint Seechiwal is now going to schools to train children about the environment so that the movement to keep rivers clean is sustained even after the Kali Bein is cleaned completely.