Mathura (Uttar Pradesh): Pilgrims who have come for the Govardhan puja and the special bath on Yam Dwitiya are anguished over the state of the Yamuna river here.
The black water and the stink from rotting fish has fouled up the environment in Mathura that attracts lakhs of people for the festivals after Diwali.
The reported discovery of oily waste in Yamuna in Mathura has sent alarm bells ringing as hydro-carbons can prove carcinogenic, according to experts. Activists have raised an accusing finger at the Mathura Oil refinery but the charges are unsubstantiated.
In last few days, thousands of fish have been found dead, floating on the surface. The stink from the dead fish has been a cause for concern.
Local authorities have now demanded release of water from upstream barrages, to dilute the pollutants. Mathura District Magistrate Sarvagya Ram Mishra said more water would be released and the problem would be addressed for the convenience of pilgrims.
After a fairly good monsoon this year, the Yamuna was flowing full to the brim.
"But suddenly after four months, the water seems to have disappeared and islands are now popping up. What flows in the name of water is essentially waste, sewer, effluents from industrial towns in Haryana and Delhi. This liquid has killed all aqua life. Even bacteria is finding it difficult to survive," said Jagan Nath Poddar, an activist in Vrindavan.
Millions of Sri Krishna bhakts who revere Yamuna as the consort of Krishna are in anguish at the state of a holy river.
"(The) Yogi (Adityanath) government has so far done nothing to save the river. (Union Minister) Nitin Gadkiri had promised us a ferry service, motor boats will transport tourists from Delhi to Agra," said a member of River Connect Campaign in Agra.
The activists have been agitating since April 2015 through a daily Arti Sabha at the Etmauddaula view point park, demanding a barrage on Yamuna downstream of the Taj Mahal, and release of water from upstream barrages for the safety of Mughal monuments including the Taj Mahal.
"The situation is extremely grim," said Shravan Kumar Singh, of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.