Alarm raised as Narmada swallows land around ashram in Bharuch

Updated: Sep 04, 2019, 08:25 IST | Hemal Ashar |

Swami Paramhans passed away in 1960, but the spiritual leader's teachings are propagated through four of his ashrams in different parts of India including the Hans Niwas

Soil erosion next to the ashram
Soil erosion next to the ashram

A SoBo trustee of the Hansdevji Trust has sent an SOS email and tweet to Minister of Environment Prakash Javadekar, to save the Hans Niwas Ashram located in Bharuch (Gujarat) from being washed away. The Hans Niwas Ashram, was built in the 1940s and is a spiritual retreat. Its aim is to continue the legacy and teachings of Swami Paramhans Hansdevji Avadhoot. Swami Paramhans passed away in 1960, but the spiritual leader's teachings are propagated through four of his ashrams in different parts of India including the Hans Niwas.

"We are in grave danger of losing the Hans Niwas altogether," said Mumbai's Prakash Munshi, who is one of the eight trustees of the Hansdevji Trust. The Narmada river is in full spate because the government has released water from the Sardar Sarovar Dam. There is considerable soil erosion where the ashram stands. Munshi has tweeted for help to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. He also tweeted to Javadekar earlier. "On Tuesday, I also emailed the minister. Time is of importance now, the soil is being eroded and the property is slipping away. A wall will cost at least Rs 15 lakh. It is not easy to raise these amounts overnight. The government needs to take onus."

The Mahant of the ashram, Swami Suryadev said, "I have moved inside to the meditation room within the complex and so have the seven sadhaks who live here, since it is risky to stay in the main building. The Mahant said that the Bharuch Ashram building was nearly 90 years old. Swami Suryadev added, "Two days ago, the Talaati (village officer) officially registered a 'panchnama' (documented the present condition of the Building 1). Nothing has been heard after that. Now, we need emergency measures. We have appealed to devotees and boulders have arrived as temporary reinforcements, I do not know how efficacious they will be in stopping the erosion, but we are trying to save the building." Swami Suryadev recalled that, "At least three years ago, the government was building a wall for about 15 km. Then I do not know what went wrong. We hear the common refrain that the matter is in court and it is sub-judice." The boulders are a sign that desperate times have called for desperate measures.

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