The authorities said they were in consultation with army officials, but the impasse is yet to be broken.
Confirming that work on the Qila ghat (named after the fort near which it is coming up) has halted, mela officer M P Mishra said: “The work stopped after the army objected to the construction. Its contention is that no construction can be allowed within 1,000 square yards of the boundary of the fort without taking permission and a no-objection certificate from the army. Some consultations have taken place. Attempts are being made to break the deadlock.”
The work was stopped on Sunday. Mela authorities said the army cited a notification dating back to 1911, which said that no construction could be allowed within 1,000 yards of the fort boundary. Effectively, the army, which has a base in the fort, is treating the development as an encroachment on army estate, said another official associated with Mahakumbh preparations.
A project of the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department, the Qila Ghat, which is supposed to be 150 metres long and 80 metres wide, is being constructed at a cost of over Rs 10 crore. A Muzaffarnagar-based agency is executing the project. Mishra conceded that of all the eight ghats, this was the most important. “It is being built in Sangam area — the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna. This will be the most sought-after ghat for devotees,” said Mishra.
The ghat needs four months to be constructed. Already, the work is behind schedule by over a month.
Work on the other four ghats on the Yamuna — Arail, Boat Club, Bargad and Balua ghats — is going on. The work on three other ghats on the Ganga — Naraini Ashram, Dashashwamedha and Chhatnag — is yet to begin, pending submission of their feasibility reports before the Allahabad High Court.
-via Express India.