Even deities affected by water crisis in capital

KATHMANDU, May 17: Not only human beings but even deities have now begun reeling under acute water scarcity in the capital valley in the wake of dry season.

For instance the pond with the sleeping idol of Lord Bishnu at the famous Hindu shrine of Budhanilkantha in the outskirts of Kathmandu has dried up to such an extent that the young priests of the temple are now struggling to bathe the deity. It all started after Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL), the sole authority to manage drinking water and drainage in the capital, stopped supplying water to the temple of Almighty God around a month ago.

Water level in Budhanilkantha pond has gone down over the years, making it difficult for the priests to even clean up the reclining statue of the reigning deity at the temple.(Pratibha Rawal/Republica)

KUKL cannot be held solely responsible for this as the devotees, too, remain insensitive about the cleanliness of the holy pond and the sacred temple premises. The pond has been polluted as devotees keep on throwing flowers, fruits and other offerings to the Lord sleeping on the mattress of stone serpent in the middle of the pond. "We are facing difficulties as the level of water in the pond is depleting day after day," whines Santosh Timilsina, assistant priest at the temple. "And the devotees add to Lord´s woes by throwing offerings in the pond."

According to Timilsina, they used to wash the idol with the water from the pond, but now the water is polluted to such an extent that they have been forced to fetch water from other sources for the purpose. Officiating priest at the temple, Swami Nigamananda, says that it is regrettable that they are struggling to arrange pure water for the Lord´s bath. "Today, we are compelled to wash the Lord´s idol with impure water because of water shortage. It is unfortunate that the authority concerned has not taken any initiative to solve the problem," fumes Nigamananda.

He is particularly angry with an engineer at KUKL, who, he alleges, stopped the supply of water to the temple. But the engineer insists that he is not committing any sin here. He says that they thought it was wise to cut the supply to the temple as it was consuming water that could be redistributed to at least seven households in the capital. It´s about greater common good, he argues. This guy is pretty gusty in that the supply to the temple has not been resumed despite the directive from the mighty Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to KUKL office to resume the supply to finding the temple. 

"I do not know what his name is," Nigamananda says of the engineer. "But I heard that he created all this mess. Can you believe that he has chosen six houses over this temple. I do not know how fair is that. Moreover, it´s been more than one month since the CIAA gave a directive to them, but they are turning a deaf ear." Meanwhile, other KUKL officials say that they are doing a lot of work in order to resolve the problem of water shortage at the temple. "We have already set pipelines," says Chandra Lal Nakarmi, General Manager of KUKL. "Now, we are busy with other works. We will solve the problem soon." To pacify Nigamananda, he added that the office will now directly supply water to the temple through a single pipeline.