Agra activists demand white paper on Yamuna

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 04, 2012 15:00 hrs

Agra, Nov 4 (IANS) Environmental activists here Sunday demanded a white paper on expenses incurred by the state and central governments in the past 25 years on cleaning up the Yamuna river.

Deliberating on the issues threatening the river at a daylong conference here, activists addressing the 'Yamuna Bachao Sammelan' (save Yamuna conference) also questioned the developmental projects being undertaken by the Uttar Pradesh government.

"Instead of taking measures to save the Yamuna from dying, the state government is more keen on building the Agra-Lucknow Expressway and Sanjay Khan's Seven Cities Park in Agra," said Surendra Sharma, president of Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society, the organisers of the event.

Environmental activists Anand Rai and Devashish Bhattacharya called for continuous monitoring of the city's treatment plants and implementation of various schemes hanging fire.

The activists stressed that the river can no longer sustain life and the authorities should focus on "restoring glory and good health" to the river, which is the life line of Taj City.

Surendra Sharma said the fish of the river have been dying due to pollution downstream of the Taj Mahal.

Activist Shravan Kumar Singh said: "Senior state government officials on Saturday visited several sites and identified 1,000 acres of land along the river bank for acquisition. All this was done without proper environmental studies or impact assessment. All they want is to make easy money by increasing pressure on the delicate Taj Mahal."

The participants also demanded that the government should begin work on the Yamuna Barrage, downstream of the Taj Mahal, to store monsoon rain.

The conference has finalised 10 demands, which will be presented to the authorities for implementation.

"Some of the demands can be met by the local administration, while some need central government's intervention. But the important point is that time is running short and action must follow soon," said conference chairperson Chandra Kant Tripathi.

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