Signature campaign against Yamuna dam
NEW DELHI, April 24, 2013: A statement signed by eminent lawyers, activists, groups and
individuals has been sent to the Prime Minister, vice chairman of the
planning commission, the ministry of environment and forests and the
minister of water resources, protesting against the construction of the
Lakhwar Dam on the Yamuna in the Upper Yamuna River Basin in Dehradun district.
The dam will be 204m high with a storage capacity of 580 million cubic
meters. This will lead to submergence of 1,385.2 hectare which will include 868.08 hectare forest land and more than 50 villages. The
project also involves a 300MW underground power plant, an 86m high Vyasi
dam with a 120MW underground power plant and a barrage at Katapathar.
The letter says: "The project has not undergone basic, credible
environment or social appraisal in any participatory manner. It doesn't
have legally valid environment or forest clearance. There has not been
any cumulative impact assessment of existing, under construction and
planned dams and hydro-projects in the Yamuna system. There hasn't been
any credible assessment about options for the project. The project is to
come up in an seismically active area, prone to flash floods and also prone to erosion and land slides... ."
The signatories to the letter, which include Ramaswamy Iyer, former
union water resources secretary of Delhi, Medha Patkar, Prashant
Bhushan, Vandana Shiva and Rajendra Singh of Tarun Bharat Sangh, have
asked the concerned agencies and governments to stall the project. Source: Times of India
Regularising illegal colonies final nail in river’s coffin
New Delhi, April 20, 2013: Regularising illegal colonies that have come up on the Yamuna
floodplains will prove to be the last nail in the river’s coffin, environmentalists fear.
Despite the river being nearly dead, DDA is now planning to redraw the
zone ‘O’ of the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021 on the directions of its
chairman and Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna’s office. Redrawing the map would mean that colonies such as Sonia
and some villages with a total built-up area of 2,000 hectares can be
taken out of riverbed zone and regularised. The total riverbed runs into about 10,000 hectares.
Officer on special duty to the L-G, Ranjan Mukherjee, said, “Colonies
such as Sonia Vihar are already segregated from the riverbed through embankments. These colonies are very old and have been in existence for
nearly 50 years,” he said. Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, who on Wednesday shot a letter to
Khanna, asking him to not to regularise these settlements, told HT, “The government’s message is it’s okay to encroach and kill the river.” No
construction activity is allowed in the riverbed defined as “zone O” in MPD.
Water body activist Vinod Jain said, “The government wants to appease a
potential vote bank at the cost of an already dying river.” The L-G office said these colonies were 40 years old and cannot be uprooted.
“But the government should have thought about this earlier,” Jain said.
The L-G office said residents had already created embankments, so regularising these colonies wouldn’t make much difference to the river.
“Embankments don’t change a river’s character. Regularisation of these colonies will ncourage encroachment,” Misra said
“We wonder what wrong had those thousands of slum clusters done that
they were uprooted from the riverbed between 2004 and 2006. Law should be applied equally to all,” Misra said.
“And if these people (for whatever reasons) can’t be such summarily
evicted, then at least do not provide them a legit tag. Otherwise more
and more people would defile the riverbed in the hope that some day in
the future would see legitimisation of their illegal act,” he said. Source: Hindustan Times
SC is taking cleaning of Yamuna 'very seriously', says CJI Altamas Kabir
New Delhi, April 14, 2013 (PTI): Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir on Friday said the
Supreme Court is taking "very seriously" the issue of cleaning Yamuna
river. "This is something which courts, in particular the Supreme Court
is taking very very seriously and, particularly the river Yamuna, we are
taking it very seriously," the CJI said. Justice Kabir was addressing the students at Jamia Milia Islamia University at the inaugural function
of 4th National Moot Court Competition in which 34 teams from various law universities from across the county are participating.
Referring to the statement of Pro Vice Chancellor Syed Mohammad Rashid
on Yamuna, he said, "It has been referred that the mighty Yamuna is just
a dirty drain. There are various plans to clean it, the first being the setting up of more sewage treatment plants on the bank of the river."
The CJI touched the topic of cleaning of Yamuna on the "impassioned prayer" of the Pro Vice Chancellor that the courts must do something
regarding water crisis in the country and the situation of Yamuna river as it passes through Delhi.
"Living in Delhi, one must be knowing what the population of the city is
like and the entire sewage is coming to Yamuna. As a result Yamuna is
becoming chocked. "There are plans for bypass canals which would be directed to the Sewage Treatment Plants where the
sewage water would be treated and then let into the river," he added. The CJI said the
cleaning method would be like a bypass surgery where the middle path is
closed but the sideways are open and then gradually the middle path is cleaned out.
CJI said there are plans for bypass canals which would be directed to
the STPs where the sewage water would be treated and then let into the river.
Speaking on the occasion, he also advised the law students to be ethical
and adopt sincerity, care, compassion and integrity in their professional life. The CJI also emphasised on the importance of
alternate dispute redressal mechanisms like legal aid, arbitration and mediation
10,000 truckloads of trash choking Yamuna
New Delhi, April 4, 2013: The Yamuna is in a huge mess, with 90,000 cubic metres of debris and
other wastes on its banks — about as much as 10,000 truckloads. The
Delhi government estimates that the entire clean-up operation will cost
around Rs. 2.5 crore at Rs. 2,500 per truck. A committee formed by the national green tribunal (NGT) has ordered the
Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation
(DMRC) and the Uttar Pradesh government to remove all wastes by May 31.
The waste dumped consists of construction and demolition debris,
garbage, polythene, organic and green wastes. The main culprits are builders, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and other construction
agencies in the Capital. Members of the committee headed by the secretary of the Union ministry
of environment and forests V Rajagopalan inspected the banks and discovered that there was 37,000 cubic metres of waste on the eastern
bank and 53,000 cubic metres on the western bank. Invoking the ‘polluter pays’ principle, NGT chairman justice Satyendra
Kumar said agencies need to remove debris from their jurisdiction, but
they have to recover the cost from whoever had dumped it.
Manoj Misra of NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, on whose petition the NGT began
hearing the case a year ago, said, “The problem is you cannot shift
pollutants from one river zone to another. The DMRC has two dumping sites — one at Sarai Kale Khan and another at
Shastri Park.” According to Misra, the problem arises as both Sarai Kale Khan and
Shastri Park are in a river zone and therefore are not approved debris
dumping sites as they have not been approved by the central pollution control board.
The NGT committee has said in case there are space constraints at these
two sites, the debris has to be taken to a site in Burari, in north Delhi.
Another problem is that Delhi Police do not allow trucks carrying waste
from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana into the Capital. "The NGT committee has asked Delhi Police to make an exception and allow
these trucks if they enter Delhi for removal and not for dumping," said Misra.Source: Hindustan Times
Government Pledges to Clean Up Yamuna River
NEW DELHI, March 17, 2013: Confronted with thousands of angry protesters, the Indian government promised this week to clean up the filthy Yamuna River, which
flows through Delhi. India’s minister of water resources, Harish Rawat, has promised that the
government will have a blueprint for a river cleanup program and to map
out construction of sewage interception drains within two months. Mr.Rawat made the pledge late Wednesday night to protesters who had amassed
in an open field after a march to Delhi. “These are very complex demands,” Mr. Rawat said on Friday. “But we have accepted them as they
suggested and we will try to fulfill them as soon as possible.”
More than half of Delhi’s sewage flows untreated into the
Yamuna, ruining it for farmers and wildlife downriver. The 22-kilometer (14-mile) stretch of the river that flows through Delhi has a dissolved
oxygen content, a measure of a river’s health and ability to support life, of zero in some areas.
Protestors who marched from Mathura, Uttar Pradesh to New Delhi supporting the “Save Yamuna” river campaign, gathered in the national
capital on Tuesday. Yamuna Rakshak Dal, an umbrella organization of religious, cultural and
farmer groups, organized a 12-day march to Delhi of thousands of people from nearby areas to protest the pollution.
“The Yamuna pollution is affecting farmers seriously in many ways,” Bhanu Pratap Singh, president of the Indian Farmers Union and a protester, said.
“Because of less water and polluted water, our productivity has come down sharply” and
costs have gone up, he said. “Earlier because of fresh water, the wild animals like antelope and wild
pigs used to live on marsh land,” Mr. Singh said. “Now because of river
pollution, those animals do not live in the marsh. They come to our fields and destroy our crops.”
The Indian government has promised since the 1990s to clean up the
Yamuna, and dedicated millions of dollars The government has promised that 250 cubic feet per second of fresh
river water will flow beyond Delhi and that it will construct 22 kilometers of sewage interception drains along the river.
However, the government has not given a written and signed copy of the agreement to protesters, he said. “You have to trust the government.
” he said.
Clean Yamuna march to Delhi to begin Friday
MATHURA, March 1, 2013: At least "100,000 bhakts (religious devotees)" will turn out for a
10-day march to Delhi that begins from here Friday to demand that the
river Yamuna be cleaned up. The organisers say traffic would be confined to one carriageway of the
extremely busy National Highway-1 that links this city to the national capital.
At the Chatikara starting point, a tented township has come up to lodge tens of thousands of activists. Mathura's Jai Gurudev ashram has also
joined the movement and taken the responsibility of feeding the activists. The Bhartiya Kisan Union
(Bhanu group) has mobilised thousands of farmers to join the march.
The demands include the release of a minimum quantity of water into the
Yamuna round the year from the Hathini Kund barrage, some 100 km upstream of New Delhi, and effective checks on drains in the national
capital that dump pollutants, effluents and sewer waste into the river -
literally turning it into one huge drain. For the past one year, scores of NGOs and groups of sadhus and babas
have been actively mobilising support for the march in the hope of awakening the powers that be.
"The polluted water that flows in the Yamuna is not fit for human consumption. It's also a threat to agriculture and is poisoning our
underground reserves," said Ashwini Mishra, an activist in Agra .
Shravan Kumar Singh, vice president of the Braj Mandal Heritage
Conservation Society said: "The polluted Yamuna is being seen as a major threat to the Taj
Mahal also, because its foundation is being affected by the toxic waters."
'Wake Up Agra' president Shishir Bhagat took out a rally two days ago to
mobilise support for the Yamuna clean-up efforts. Vrindavan and Mathura, as also Goverdhan and Barsana, are full of
posters and banners appealing to the people to join the march to save their life-line.
Yamuna has been the repository of arts, culture, architecture, history
and the Hinduism's Bhakti movement. 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 that sustains life and agriculture affecting millions of people in the three states of
Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court has expressed its extreme displeasure that
despite the creation of a Yamuna Development Authority and Rs.12,000 crore (over $2 billion) having been spent, the river has been reduced to a drain and
its waters are unfit for drinking or even bathing. Source: The Times of India
SC to take a second look at DTC depot near Yamuna
New Delhi, February 6, 2013:
The Supreme Court has decided to take a "second look" and examine if the DTC bus depot opposite Millennium Park could continue, amid the claims
of threat to Yamuna due to its construction on the river flood plain. A bench led by Justice H L Dattu issued notices to the government, Delhi
Transport Corporation, Delhi Development Authority and others on a special leave petition filed against the Delhi High Court judgment in
September last year. "We would want to take a second look at the matter. We deem it right.
Let notices be issued," the bench said, while admitting the petition by environmentalist Anand Arya.
The Delhi High Court had last year disposed of two PILs, including one
by Arya, against the bus depot near the Nizamuddin Bridge. It gave six months to the government for changing the land-use after amending the
Master Plan. The High Court said relocation of depot will happen only if the government fails to amend the Master Plan. It said concerns of
threat to environment can be addressed at the time of change in Master
Plan, as the amendment would require issuing a notice to the public and inviting objections.
Arya then moved in appeal before the apex court. Appearing for him,
senior advocate Jayant Bhushan contended that the High Court order amounted to permitting the unlawful existence of bus depot on the ground
that the law might change in future. During the short argument, Bhushan asked for an interim stay on the High
Court order and that no fresh construction is carried out. The apex court refrained from passing any interim direction,
saying would examine the issue first. In the petition, Arya said the High Court was wrong in not calling for
the removal of the depot when it was an admitted fact that its current usage was contrary to the Master Plan. According to the Master Plan, the
site is on Zone O, which is a green area. The petition said the High Court ignored the fact that the site was
allotted to DTC for temporary parking of buses during the Commonwealth Games and was never handed back. Also, there was no DUAC clearance for
use of land on the river floodplain, the petition said. Arya said any construction in Yamuna river bed would
permanently destroy the ecology of the river and its ground water recharge ability. Source: expressindia.com
NGT bans dumping of rubble in Yamuna, directs its removal
NEW DELHI, February 2, 2013: Concerned over "serious threat" of water pollution of
Yamuna river and change of its course, the National Green Tribunal has banned dumping of debris,
including solid waste, on its banks and directed governments of Delhi
and UP to remove the rubble immediately. "Debris is being thrown on the river bank and it is a
serious threat to the change of course as well as water pollution of river Yamuna. Certain directions need to be issued forthwith in order to
ensure that pollution of Yamuna is prevented and the debris from the site removed.
"We hereby issue an injunction restraining anybody, any person,
authority from throwing any debris of any kind including solid wastes on the river bank of Yamuna or the water body near river
Yamuna," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said. "The State of Uttar
Pradesh, Delhi Development Authority, Government of NCT Delhi and East Delhi Municipal Corporation shall forthwith start removing
debris from the river bank of Yamuna," the full bench, comprising judicial member Justice P Jyothimani and experts
members D K Agrawal, G K Pandey and A R Yousuf, said. The Tribunal has also directed the authorities to dump the debris at a
site in Gazipur which is exclusively meant for dumping of municipal solid wastes.
Referring to the principle of 'polluter pays' the NGT has also directed the authorities to recover the costs of removing the debris from the
persons, including a company, partnership, sole proprietorship and individuals, who dump it.
The Tribunal's directions came on the plea filed by one Manoj Mishra, who has opposed the dumping of rubble on the
banks of river Yamuna. Source: The Economic Times
Minority community to support 'Save Yamuna' campaign
Mathura, January 25, 2013
(PTI): In a move certain to boost efforts to save the endangered river, members of various minority bodies in the city have decided to lend their support to the 'Save
Yamuna' campaign. "We will not only offer prayers after namaz on the birthday of Prophet
Mohammad tomorrow but also participate in the awareness march which coincides with the occasion," a joint statement issued by the leaders of
the community in the city, said. Among those who have announced their commitment to protecting the river
were Dr Z Hasan and Dr Unus Qureshi, president and vice-president, respectively, of the Shahi Masjid Eidgah committee and Hazi
Yameen, president of the Jama Masjid Committee. Badale Qureshi, vice-president of the Zameetul Qureshi Trust, Md
Taufiq, manager of the Islamia Inter College and Md Riyazuddeen, president of
the Sankalp welfare Society, too, have joined in the endeavour. The new allies for the conservation of the river assured Kamal Kant
Upmanyua, the patron of the Yamuna Rakshak Dal (YRD), that they would now actively work towards ensuring a cleaner Yamuna.
YRD sources, meanwhile, said that they have lined up awareness drives to
press for conservation of the river. "It has been decided that 5 lakh YRD activists would march to
Hathini Kund on March 1, to pressurise the Centre for regular release of water from Hathini Kund into the river," said a member.
Yamuna Action Plan Board discusses pollution control measures
MATHURA, January 18, 2013: The Yamuna Action Plan Board
today discussed implementation of various measures for reducing pollution level in the river in Mathura stretch.
Giving details of the meeting, nodal officer Avadhesh Tewari said the
Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority has been asked to give nod to housing projects only after ensuring their
compliance with the prescribed cleanliness norms.
"A three-member team will check the existence and functioning of
effluent treatment plants in vibrator units," Tewari said. The authorities, along with the State Pollution Control Board, will
check functioning of illegal slaughter houses in Manoharpura area, board member
Gopeshwar Nath Chaturvedi said. "Order for random sampling of drain water flowing through Manoharpura
area and discharged into the river have also been issued," Chaturvedi said.
Taking exception to direct discharge of sewage water from new drains in Vrindavan area, the board also ordered for connection of these drains
into new sewer line at the earliest, he said. A meeting of various stakeholders will be called after January 26 to
ensure proper implementation of ban on polythene, Chaturvedi added. Source: The Times of India
Yamuna`s slow death documented in film
Delhi, January 10, 2013 (IANS): Yamuna`s slow death documented in film Agra: An hour-long film,
‘Yamuna ka Dard’ (The Pain of the Yamuna), was released here Wednesday in a bid to highlight the pollution in the river and the likely damage it could
cause to the Taj Mahal. Produced by students of journalism and mass communication of the Central
Hindi Institute, the film was released by Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.
"The Yamuna is dying a slow, painful death. It is not only the victim of pollutants discharged by upstream cities and industries, but also of
criminal negligence and intriguing silence from pollution control bodies," he said.
Poonam Chauhan, who scripted the film, said: "This is not exactly a
documentary. We have a proper story line, inspired from mythology. We
have interlaced the script with lots of interviews with both common people and experts."