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In Lucknow, two sewage treatment plants ostensibly prevent pollution of the river Gomti but are they really doing their job? The photos tell the entire story.

The venerable Imperial Gazetteer says, 'Viewed from a distance Lucknow presents a picture of unusual magnificence and architectural splendour, which fades on nearer view ...' (Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 16, p. 196). Nearly all the Lucknowis I met assured me that the Gomti was the same way. "The Gomti is a great river", they told me, "till she reaches Lucknow. After that, she's dirty.

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A river, which once unified people, is now being manipulated in the name of 'river conservation'. All it is, is an excuse to create a divide and further caste conflict.

As temple tanks go, this one is quite beautiful. It is a rectangular masonry-lined tank, about the size of a badminton court. Brick steps lead down to the water. On one of its longer sides is a lovely old temple, shaded by mango trees. Groups of men and women sit and gossip in the coolness. Facing them is an avenue of large trees, below which sit contemplative buffaloes. Behind this meditative group are emerald-green paddy fields. It is a shame that the tank itself is choked with plastic bags, thermocol plates, and water lettuce but the moorhens and egrets don't seem to mind.

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This photo essay captures the range of activities post-monsoon in rural areas of Maharashtra including the celebration of the Vatapoornima festival.

June signals the start of the monsoons in many parts of India. Pune and its surrounding areas in Maharashtra have witnessed heavy showers since the first week of June. The rains let up for a weeks time during which I visited a few places on the outskirts of Pune city.

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