Vrindavan, 2017.03. 05 (VT): Indiscriminate dumping of debris on the Yamuna river banks threatens the river’s ecosystem in Vrindavan. The Yamuna is rapidly changing its course due to the accumulation of debris from large-scale construction around Vrindavan and rampant illegal mining on its banks.
The dumping of debris has remained un-checked on the Yamuna bed even after rulings from the National Green Tribunal barring all such activities on the riverbed and its floodplains. The district administration of Mathura hasn’t taken any steps to prevent the illegal dumping, even after several complaints made by activists. The Yamuna flows for a stretch of 5 km in the city starting from Varaha Ghat. Instead of taking the debris to the landfill site, people are dumping debris along the riverbanks.
As prolonged dumping of debris encroaches upon the river area, people on the riverside are using this new land mass to develop colonies. Such new colonies have come up on the entire stretch near Kaliya daha and Old Madan Mohan Temple. Such a scenario was also observed near Bhramar ghat and Cheer Ghat . Hence, the river flowing for a breadth of around 500 meters on an average has shrunk to less than 100 meters in several places. During the monsoon, it will pose a serious problem to the city.
Locals say it is a regular practice that bullock carts full of debris are dumped in the Bhramar Ghat, Chirghat and Yugal Ghat areas on the riverbed. Sometimes the debris is brought in tractor-trailers also to fill the Yamuna bank.
The dumping of debris on the Yamuna bank has continued unchecked for more than two decades, completely burying some spectacular heritage ghats of Vrindavan. Several ancient Ghats have disappeared under the mounds of debris.
According to the government’s regulations for the management of construction and demolition waste, the local bodies have to commission construction and demolition waste plants – mainly to recycle them. No such plants exist in Vrindavan or in the entire Mathura district.
The law came as the Center was of the opinion that this dumping in riverbeds, open spaces, drains and forest areas is unscientific and any violation would lead to penal provisions according to the Environment Protection Act of 1986.
The so-called mindless filling of the river bed to build up the Parikrama of Vrindavan has in fact helped the land mafias who reclaimed the land of Yamuna to develop colonies. The modern ‘Parikrama Marg’, which was built after filling debris on the Yamuna bed, has turned into a busy motor-able road, which has become very dangerous for the devotees who perform Parikrma.
It is a mortal risk for those who perform the ‘Dandavati Parikrama’.
Environmentalists have warned that constant dumping of garbage and rubble is fraught with dangerous consequences. These include implications on the river flow, raising the flood hazard by the city people, causing their displacement, pushing down the groundwater, destroying the environment, leaving the meandering flow of the river.
The remaining riverbed area was used for growing vegetables and flowers. But now the flow has been restricted to a narrow channel and people are reclaiming the remaining area for the developing colonies there.
Vrindavan has almost lost its magnificent Yamuna ghats to the greed of the people who buried them to reclaim the Yamuna’s land. If the dumping is not prevented the little area left between Keshi Ghat to Bihar Ghat will also be lost, which could well turned into a heritage corridor.