New Delhi: To tackle degradation of the Yamuna, a Parliamentary panel has recommended strengthening of solid and liquid municipal waste management infrastructure in Agra and preventing bathing of animals in the river and other water bodies around Taj Mahal "immediately".
"The degradation of Yamuna bed is quite evident and is visible to the naked eye. The committee is unhappy to note that not only is the capacity of the sewerage plants inadequate but some of these plants are not functioning to their full capacity or have to run on DG sets," the committee chaired by former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar said in its report.
It also said the concerned authorities should ensure that there is no dumping of solid or liquid waste from within the municipal limits of Agra into the Yamuna without requisite treatment.
"The committee recommends that steps should be taken to strengthen the management of solid and liquid municipal waste infrastructure of Agra city," the committee said.
It said waste water and sewage surrounding the Taj Mahal should be properly treated before being discharged in the designated areas.
"Necessary steps should also be taken to stop the bathing of buffalo and other animals in the river Yamuna and water bodies around the Taj Mahal immediately," the panel said in the report.
Observing that solid waste collection and disposal mechanism is "inadequate", the panel said sewerage network covers only half the city area.
The committee was informed that nine plants have been constructed to treat sewerage flowing into Yamuna, while one was under construction.
The committee was informed that the total capacity of these Sewerage Treatment Plants was 220.5 million litres per day, with some of the older ones not working to their full capacity.
Noting that the Taj Mahal is losing its sheen because of lack of water body behind it, the committee felt construction of the proposed Agra barrage can permanently solve the water crisis in the city and also present a more scenic view of the 17th century monument to the tourists.
The committee also suggested a survey for mapping water sources in the region.
"The committee recommends that a survey should be undertaken for mapping the sources of water in the Taj Trapezium Zone area at the earliest," it said.
It also recommended exploring all options to devise a mechanism to channel water at least to the periphery of Taj Mahal. It suggested that the matter could be taken up with the Union Water Resource Ministry and Irrigation Ministry.
Though the panel was told that the only leather factory had an effluent treatment plant, it asked the government to ensure that the tannery does not pollute the river.