Everybody looking for ways to save river
Even as thousands are undertaking a march from Mathura to Delhi to raise awareness to save the dying Yamuna river, people of Taj city wonder if it is still possible to revive the river that is now seen as a mere sewer.
“Can we not think of the Sabarmati river-front experiment in Ahmedabad? Not too long ago, the river was a drain. Today, it is a sight to behold,” Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society said.
“Permanent walls have been built on both sides of the riverbank preventing release of any discharge from the city into the river. They have covered nullahs in which all the small and big drains open. The covered space is used for commercial and social purposes to recover the costs of running the system. This appears a workable solution,” Sharma added.
According to environmentalist Shravan Kumar Singh, “In the Taj city, despite the orders of the Supreme Court, dhobis, who wash clothes in the river have not been shifted. Dairies within the city and the crematorium at Taj Ganj or the hundreds of sweet-making units in the interiors have not yet been shifted, Singh added.
The march by people is a reflection of deep anguish. Activists have been asking the government agencies, to undertake cleanliness drives and pucca ghats be built. They also want the silt to be dredged out.
But so far the government has failed to respond to these demands. Yamuna activists say millions of rupees have gone down the gutter in the two Yamuna Action Plans which have not made any discernible change to the river system.
The Supreme Court has expressed extreme displeasure that despite the creation of a Yamuna Development Authority and Rs 12,000 crore having been spent, the river has been reduced to a drain.