Educating pilgrims about AIDS

ALLAHABAD: `Ham rahenge to dharm rahega, hum nahin to dharm nahin’,
(existence of religion is synonymous with the existence of human
lives) is the catchphrase of a group of volunteers of a social outfit Prayagraj
Seva Samiti which has taken upon the mantles of educating the
multitudes visiting the Magh Mela about the evils of the Aquired
Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and persuade them to desist from
using polythene in their endeavour to keep the river pollution free.

"Undertaking such a signature campaign in the Sangam area on the
occasion of Magh Mela would definitely have reverberations throughout
the country in the backdrop of the fact that the annual Magh Mela is
a reflection of Mini India," said convenor Teerthraj Pandey while
talking to TOI.

Mrigank Tiwari, for Times of India

He added that AIDS was among the major threats for the growth of the
country apart from the problem of terrorism and increasing pollution.
With regards to AIDS there is a general perception among different
sections of society that government schemes and resources are not
reaching the common man who is absolutely clueless about this dreaded

"But the question arises that what was the response of the people
towards this campaign? Very encouraging as on the very first day more
than a thousand people expressed their faith and support towards the
cause of the outfit in the signature campaign undertaken by
volunteers in the Mela area," Pandey said.

He added that it was very surprising to see that a large number of
people including the rural folks sought information on the causes and
prevention of AIDS apart from agreeing to desist from using polythene
in the Mela area in future.

The significance of the annual Magh Mela and Ardh Kumbh and Maha
Kumbh organised on the banks of Sangam can be drawn from the fact
that millions gather from across the globe to seek salvation. Keeping
this in mind the Samiti has urged the government to declare
`Teerthraj Prayag'(head of all pilgrim spots) as a tourist place and
construct a domestic airport to cater to the huge rush of pilgrims
visiting the city.

Appreciating the intiative, chief medical officer (CMO) Dr PK Sinha
told TOI that all efforts undertaken in the above directions are
commendable and would go a long way in checking the rise of a dreaded
disease like AIDS.

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