Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and hermits taking a holy dip in Madhya Pradesh’s Kshipra river next month at a religious gathering will not have to worry about skin infections.
The administration will use ozone to purify water at the main ghats ahead of Simhastha 2016 that kicks off on April 22.
While the volatile gas is regularly used to disinfect water in Western countries, the technique is being applied for the first time during a festive congregation in India.
“Pipelines have been laid at six spots to release bubbles of ozone from the bottom of the river to ensure clean water during the month-long festival,” said fair officer Avinash Lavania. Authorities are spending `9 crore on the project that was launched two months ago.
About a crore pilgrims are expected to take a Shahi Snan, or royal bath, on three different days during the Hindu religious festival that is held once in 12 years. Authorities say four crore people are likely to visit the month-long fair.
“We will start releasing ozone in the first week of April for testing,” said Ujjain Municipal Corporation’s additional commissioner Vishal Singh Chouhan. “Usually the water is chlorinated in Kumbh festivals in Allahabad and elsewhere.”
Ozone disintegrates within seconds, releasing free oxygen atoms that cause rapid oxidisation and neutralise bacteria, viruses and other germs. It also eliminates odour and reduces concentration of metals and minerals in river water.
Ozone generation plants will pump the gas into the pipelines with release points. The water will get disinfected soon after the gas is discharged and the process will be repeated at regular intervals.
The quality of water in Kshipra has been a cause of concern ahead of Simhastha with religious groups raising the matter with the administration.
Some sewerage lines were discharging liquid waste into the river but authorities sealed all the outlets this month.