The Uttar Pradesh government is coming under increased criticism from Hindu ascetics in Allahabad who are concerned over the high levels of pollution in the Ganges river.
Abhimukhteshwar Anand Saraswati, an ascetic, said the condition of the Ganges is similar to a sewage-related drain.
"The condition is such that when a person stands on the banks of the river, he is unable to believe that this is Ganga. It feels that a drain is flowing. The water has turned black and smelly. How can 'Kumbh Mela' be organised and how will taking dip in such dirty water satisfy people?" asked Saraswati.
Hari Prasad Mishra, a government official, said the situation is not as bad as it is being projected.
"The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board are continuously examining the water in regard with the pollution and the report shows that the condition is not that bad as it is being said," said Mishra.
Allahabad is getting ready to host the revered Maha Kumbh Mela. Devotees have begun undertaking the traditional 'Shobha Yatras' in the run-up to religious event.
Over 10 million people are expected to arrive in the city to participate in the event.
Kumbh Mela will be held from January 14 to March 10, 2013.