Disheartened by rain, ‘admn apathy’, kalpvasis pack their bags midway

Two days of heavy rain leaves Kumbh area without power and in stench.

Almost two days of continuous rain, combined with alleged apathy of the administration, seems to have shaken the faith of many devotees, including some kalpvasis, and they are leaving the Kumbh Mela.

It had rained heavily in the Kumbh Mela area since the afternoon of February 15 and continued till Saturday night.

The administration, however, claimed it was making efforts to bring things back on track over the next couple of days, while maintaining that kalpvasis were determined to stay the entire period.

But quite a few differed. Kedar Nath Jha and his wife from Supaul in Bihar had come to the Kumbh on January 14 and planned to stay till February 27 to complete the kalpvas. "But now I have got tickets for tomorrow. How long can one stay in this stench? The tents are ruined, power supply has become erratic and getting even basic items like wood for setting up a bonfire or kerosene is difficult," said Jha, a retired government school teacher, who has been staying at his camp in Sector-9.

There were an estimated 500 kaplvasis in Jha's enclave. But a look around showed that the place was almost empty. "Many people had paid around Rs 5,000 — double of what we had paid. But their tents simply got swamped by knee-deep water. At present only around 100 are present," he said.

However, Savitri, staying in the same enclave, is determined to stay till February 25 for the Maghi Purnima snan (bath). "I have developed pain in my waist due to the cold. But I told my son that there are only sevenodd days left; so I'd better wait rather than breaking the sankalp (vow) of kalpvas," she said, washing utensils barely a few feet from the row of temporary latrines, overflowing with human excreta.

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