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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mela preparations crawl as pilgrims pour in
- No solar lights have been installed or water tanks set up as suggested

Gaya, Aug. 30: Preparations for the 17-day long Pitripaksh Mela beginning on September 11, are going on at a snailís pace even though pilgrims have started arriving.

Every year, the administration ensures cleanliness, road repair, drinking water, uninterrupted power supply, accommodation and transportation for pilgrims pouring in at Gaya from different parts of the country and abroad.

However, keeping in view the visit of pilgrims in large numbers every year in Gaya, Gopal Meena, the deputy development commissioner (DDC), who was also the acting district magistrate of Gaya, had stressed for permanent structures for the mela.

At a meeting held on June 26 to discuss preparations for the Pitripaksh Mela, he had directed officials to ensure arrangements.

But implementation of most of the suggestions made at the meeting is yet to start.

At the meeting, Meena had suggested installation of solar lights and water tanks on the campus of schools where arrangements for accommodation for the pilgrims are to be made. He had said the school principals should use the funds available.

In case there is no fund available at the school, the same will be provided on preparing an estimate.

He had also suggested construction of bathrooms and toilets at Deo Ghat on the banks of Falgu river. Deo Ghat is adjacent to the Vishnupad Temple, where pilgrims, including women, participate in the pinddaan rituals.

The construction of bathrooms was suggested keep- ing in mind the convenience of pilgrims, especially women.

Meena had also issued directions for cleaning the ghats of Falgu, ponds and the vedis (the structure where pinddaan is offered).

The ponds include Suryakund, Vaitarni, Brahm Sarovar, Rukmini, Godavari, Ram Kund, Sita Kund, Uttar Manush pond, while the vedis include Tarak Brahm, Gayasur, Gaya Koop, Aadi Gaya, Kagbali, Bhimgada and Goprachar and the ghats ó Deo Ghat and Gayatri Ghat.

However, directions have not been followed. The schools have not been equipped with solar lights and overhead water tanks.

ďCleaning up of the ghats, ponds and the vedis has not gained momentum as yet,Ē Suresh Narayan told The Telegraph.

Narayan, who is a member of Nindak Committee constituted by the district administration for the 17-day mela, has also been demanding a permanent structure for the pilgrims.

It is not only about the 17-day Pitripaksh period. Pilgrims arrive here throughout the year and there should be a permanent arrangement for them, he said

He added that there is need for urinals, post office, a good restaurant and proper security arrangements.

There is a railway-booking counter near Nai sadak providing facility for reservation of tickets but there is a need to make general class tickets available with advance booking facility.

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