Agra: "Save Yamuna" activists marched here Sunday demanding to know what had happened to the huge rums of money spent on supposedly cleaning the river.
"Thousands of crores of rupees have gone down the gutter in the past two decades," activist Naresh Paras told, reflecting a widely held view.
"The fate of the three Yamuna Action Plans is all too visible to those who come to see the Taj Mahal along its banks," he said.
Paras and others walked from Haathi Ghat to Lal Ghat to focus attention on the river and demanded a "white paper" on all the expenditure incurred by the local, Uttar Pradesh and central authorities.
"Wake Up Agra" president Shishir Bhagat said the treatment plants along the river bank were not working and all the sewage of the city was flowing directly into the river.
"It is a criminal offence to pollute community water resources, but the UP Pollution Control Board officials are sleeping."
Devashish Bhattacharya, a social activist, drew attention to heaps of leather cuttings from shoe units piled up along the river bank, polluting the water.
The shoe units have been asked to shift by the UP Pollution Control Board but the industry is resisting the move. It denies it is polluting the Yamuna.
Chandra Kant Tripathi, registrar of the Central Hindi Institute, suggested construction of ghats along the river, cleaning the river bank and monitoring the treatment plants.
Tripathi called the Yamuna Agra's lifeline.
"If the river survived and was restored to good health, the city would regenerate and see revival from the present decadence and degeneration," he added.
Volunteers walked along the river front with banners and posters raising slogans and urging the Uttar Pradesh government to take steps to save the river.
Said Subhash Dhal of NGO Vichardhara: "People of Agra have to be awakened and sensitised to river pollution. Their habits have to be changed.
"Right now everyone is dumping polythene bags and all the waste into the river, which is bad. The River Police formed some years ago is nowhere to be seen."
First Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012, 18:29