‘Powerless’ Kumbh loses its voice

The loudspeakers and mikes at Kumbh 2013 are yet to begin emanating sounds of bhajan-kirtan and pravachan (discourse) — which are considered to be the essence of the mela - during the day.

At present, power is supplied for 12 hours from evening till morning in most of the mela area. The gurus and kathavachaks (story-tellers) are depending on generators or even batteries. As of now, it is the regular announcements for lost and found that generally emanates from the loudspeakers.

The power department, however, is making arrangements to provide power during the day for at least mikes and loudspeakers so that satsangs can be held.

"We have been coming to the Kumbh Mela for many years and this is the quietest mela I have ever seen. What is the point of Kumbh when one cannot listen to bhajans and pravachan?" says Panth Shri Hajur Ardh Naam Saheb, the head Acharya of Kabir Panth.

The situation is same at Triveni Marg, one of the important roads in the centre of the mela area that houses most akharas. "We use battery power for making certain announcements or carrying out certain programmes for a brief period. I have complained to the administration," says Swami Ravindra Puri, secretary of Mahanirvani akhara.

Nearby, Punyananda Giri, mahamandaleshwar of Niranjani akhara, has fixed timings for discourses — from 9 am to 10 am and 4 to 5 pm. The decorated pandal, however, wears a forlorn look as generators are used minimally. Arun Soni, manager and disciple of Punyananda, says: "We pay Rs 20,000 for the generator, plus diesel cost. The discourses are held, but it does not go out to a large audience."

In Sector-11, Swami Prakhar Maharaj has another problem. He has set up a 40-bed hospital in his camp. "We have operation theatre and there are other machines, including diagnostics. But either there is no power supply or there are wild fluctuations, leading to frequent tripping," he says.

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