Activists protest against Yamuna pollution

Activists gathered along the banks of the Yamuna here to demand an early clean up of the river that is the lifeline to millions in northern India.

Agra/Mathura: Activists gathered along the banks of the Yamuna here to demand an early clean up of the river that is the lifeline to millions in northern India.

Dozens of people offered special prayers on the river bank and sought the cleaning of the ghats and the demolition of illegal structures along the river.

Music maestro Acharya Jaimini said in Vrindavan that concretization of the river banks was proceeding at an alarming pace.

In Agra, a meeting of the activists demanded to know what happened to the huge sums of money spent on supposedly cleaning the 1,376-km river.

"Thousands of crores of rupees have gone down the drain in the past two decades," activist Shravan Kumar Singh moaned.

The activists demanded a "white paper" on all the expenditure incurred by Uttar Pradesh and central authorities on cleaning the river.

One activist, Anand Rai, said the treatment plants along the river bank were not working and all the sewage of Agra 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," Rai said.

Abhinaya Prasad of Adhar, an NGO, drew attention to the heaps of leather cuttings from shoe units piled up along the river bank, polluting the water.

Chandra Kant Tripathi, registrar of the Central Hindi Institute in Agra, suggested construction of new ghats along the river and monitoring of the treatment plants.

"If the river survived and was restored to good health, Agra will see a revival from the present decadence and degeneration," he added.

"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," said Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Heritage Society.

The Yamuna originates at Yamunotri in Uttarakhand and merges with the Ganga in Allahabad.
 

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