NASHIK: The seven concrete ghats constructed on the banks of the Godavari are in a sorry state, just a year after they were built for the Kumbh Mela

The upkeep, renovation of the ghats have been included in the riverfront development plan under the Smart Cities project, but the work will have to wait till funds flow into the civic coffers. Till then, the ghats remain unattended and shabby. 

Seven bathing ghats, two locations at Dasak and one each at Sangam, Kannamwar bridge, Talkuteshwar, Gadge Maharaj and Ramkund, were constructed for pilgrims to take the holy dip during the Kumbh Mela. 

Barely a week after the last shahi snan of the Kumbh Mela, garbage was seen on the new ghats and floating in the river. The civic administration made some attempts to clean them but have not been very successful in maintaining these spaces. 

"One-and-a-half years back, these seven new ghats were the most beautiful locations in the city. They were the destination for everyone to visit almost every evening. Today, one look at them and we feel as if they were constructed years back and have been deserted for a long time," said Shrikant Sule, a college student. 

Mohini Nagpure, another college student, said the ghats have become very dirty and are also deserted. "We cannot imagine that these are the same ghats we used to frequent with our family and friends and click pictures last year," she said. 

"Besides cleanliness, beautification and recreational facilities, security aspect also needs to be considered by the civic administration. The city has hardly any recreational facilities despite being beautiful. Such effort will not only retain its beauty but will also provide recreation," she said. 

A year back, it was decided that the seven new ghats would be maintained through public private partnership. Some income generating source and landscaping were planned for maintenance, for entertainment of citizens and tourism to prevent encroachments and dumping of waste. 

"We planned landscaping for beautifying the place and also to prevent misuse of the concrete ghats after the Kumbh Mela like defecation, encroachment and other nuisance. These ghats will have to be maintained for the remaining 11 years. We are working towards it through our Smart City project," said an NMC official. 

Civic chief Abhishek Krishna said, "Renovation of ghats, cleaning Godavari River and promoting the new ghats for tourism purpose are part of the riverfront development plan in the Smart City project. We will not let any encroachments come up and even if they do, we will remove them. At present, there are no encroachments there."