Holy men, activists to march to Delhi for Yamuna

Mathura/Agra, Nov 15 (IANS) Spiritual leaders and activists have decided to march to New Delhi to press the central government to take urgent steps to save the polluted Yamuna.

The decision was announced after a series of meetings and interactive sessions with stakeholders in this region through which the Yamuna flows.

The activists want the Narendra Modi government to take prompt measures to cleanse the Yamuna of pollutants and ensure uninterrupted flow of water round the year.

A similar march to New Delhi was undertaken in November.

Ramesh Baba of Barsana, a respected ascetic, said it was high time the central government did something concrete and implemented the decisions it has already announced.

Some holy men accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of going back on its words to save the Yamuna, one of the rivers revered by Hindus but now in a pitiable condition.

“Even after so many marches and rallies, the union government has not responded to our demands, and Yamuna continues to remain dry and polluted for most part of the year,” Braj Bachao Samiti’s Rhais Qureshi said.

Activists are particularly angry with BJP MP Hema Malini who they said had done nothing for the Yamuna despite making promises before the May 2014 general election.

The Yamuna flood plains were also being encroached upon by the land developers, the drains all the way from Faridabad in Haryana to Mathura in Uttar Pradesh discharging industrial effluents, the activists say.

River activists said the initiative taken by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to start a daily Yamuna ‘aarti’ to bring people back to the river had been widely appreciated in Mathura, Vrindavan and Agra.

“This will surely help mobilise public support for the cause of Yamuna, as we have seen in Agra where the Yamuna aarti has been going on since April 1,” said Devashish Bhattacharya of Agra’s River Connect Campaign.

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