UP authorities yet to clear flood plains to store water

Yamuna water may go waste in monsoon: Activists

The UP government is yet to act on an order by the Allahabad High Court to clear dry ponds of encroachments, which will help create additional storage to tap rainwater in monsoon.

“Public ponds have not been cleared of encroachment despite orders from the Allahabad High Court. Hundreds of ponds that have dried up have been encroached upon. We have submitted a list of the ponds and our report to the Allahabad High Court,” said D K Joshi, a member of the Supreme Court monitoring committee on sewage and drinking water in Agra.

“Why is the state government not acting on the National Green Tribunal’s May 20 directive to clear the Yamuna flood plains of encroachment?” said activist Akash Vashist, who had petitioned the HC.

“The order to clear the encroachments has to be passed by the divisional commissioner of Agra, who shows no urgency to comply with the court’s order.”

Desilt river bed

Shravan Kumar Singh, another activist, said, “In monsoon, the Yamuna will be swollen with water and then will go dry after a couple of months. All the water will flow into the sea if it is not stored. Why can’t government agencies dredge and desilt the river bed to open up the aquifers?”

In Vrindavan, the Yamuna riverbank is yet to be cleared of garbage dumps.

“They have constructed a bridge and a road by the riverbank. Colonies have come up on the flood plains,” said Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of Friends of Vrindavan, an NGO dedicated to sanitation, conservation of greenery and garbage removal.

Green issues ignored

“Green issues have always been ignored in Vrindavan and Mathura, with the result that we have lost 75 per cent of green cover to concrete structures,” said Baba Madan Bihari Das of Friends of Vrindavan.

“Since 2003, not a stone has been removed from the Taj Corridor project, which takes up 85 acres of the Yamuna river bed despite Supreme Court orders to clear the debris.

The Archaeological Survey of India has now passed the buck to the UP forest department,” said environmentalist Rajan Kishore.

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