The time has come when the people should move to the Supreme Court on to review the guidelines given under the Taj Trapezium Zone. They should demand that the focus should be shifted to the living heritages than the dead monuments. Too much fund is wasted on these dead monuments, but the living heritages are kept in stake. Yamuna is a living heritage for the millions of people who have faith on Lord Krishna.
The National Green Tribunal has issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Ministry of Water Resources, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh governments, UP irrigation Department and Up Police, on a petition highlighting the massive and fast rising concretization on the river beds and flood plains of Yamuna and its tributary Hindon. The petition, filed by water conservationist Akash Vashishtha and Gaziabad municipal councilor Rajendra Tyagi, raised the issue of fast -paced encroachments on the highly eco-sensitive river bed and flood plains of the two important rivers, by farmhouses, colonies, stone crashers , factories and other commercial establishments. The petition is represented by legal activist Amit Khemka. Most part of the Yamuna River, for nearly 220 kilometers of its stretch along Yamuna Nagar, Sonepat and Panipat in Haryana, Delhi and Noida, Greater Noida, Mathura and Agra in UP has been encroached by away of farmhouses colonies, stone crashers , quartzite-washing plants and other units which have erected permanent constructions on the Yamuna bed and its flood plain. if grapevines are to be believed, the mafia has been operating in close connivance with the local administrations in usurping the eco sensitive river bed and the flood plains. At many places the land sharks have converted the eco-sensitive flood zone areas into concrete colonies by laying out cement concrete roads, erecting poles laying electric wires, fixing street lights, and this all inside the river bed area. The concretization is still occurring on a vast scale.
Once the farmhouses and commercial plants are set up, they discharge a huge chunk of solid and human, toxic waste into the already highly polluted Yamuna and its tributaries which are battling for their survival and holy existence. The situation is really too bad and the Environment Ministry has been sitting idle with no action being taken up on this issue. There has been a long pressing demand for River Regulation Zone (RRZ), but the MoEF has still not bothered to notify it till date. The loss of flood plain is irreparable and irreversible hazard, affecting the human population on a vast geographical scale and also affecting the geological and physical features of the earth, with serious implications for the present as well as future generations. The present state of affairs on Yamuna and Hindon embankment violates the core principles, guidelines, and spirit and stipulations of the National Water Policy. It also violates the Draft National Water Policy 2012 formulated by the Ministry of Water Resources and release by Prime Minister which emphasizes upon the urgent need for conservation of water corridors, water bodies. The construction of concrete houses farmhouses, commercial set-ups and colonies, disturb the natural hydrological cycle of the basin and places along the river, which often extended up to several kilometers, was also perhaps stated in the petition. As stated in the plea, shrinking of river stream due to encroachments result in reduced evaporation and evapo – transpiration if ( there is vegetation on embankments) from surface water and hence reduce the condensation (rainfall) in adjoining places.
The petition seeks immediate registration of FIR against farmhouses plots sellers and buyers and commercial unit owners who gave encroached upon the river beds. It also seeks to direct the agencies to raze down all the illegal structures built on the flood plains and dump the debris accumulated off the river flood zone area. The petition, thus seeks and early notification of the River Regulation one by the Environment Ministry. Hope the authorities are listening.
The Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance represented by Baba Madan Bihari Das has also become co-petitioner in this case. In his prayer Baba requested the NGT to demolish all concrete structures and those of permanent nature on the river bed and its flood plains in Mathura -Vrindavan area. He has requested to direct the agencies to prevent any new concrete structure or commercial set-up from coming up in the area. In the prayer Baba said that the agencies should be directed to conduct a massive plantation drive and raise a dense forest along the banks of Yamuna, which should be named as ‘Mayur Van’, which would serve as an ideal habitat for a vast population of peacocks in Vrindavan as would also provide an alternative habitat to about 10000 strong monkey population here. This would solve the monkey menace to a large extent. Provisions of registering FIR against all the individuals, realtors and other entities which have set up their structures inside the Yamuna bed or its flood plains and arresting them are also demanded in the prayer. The flood plains should only be allowed for agriculture/ horticulture use and constitute a commission to investigate the role of the officials of the concerned agencies behind the setting up of such illegal farmhouses, colonies, houses, buildings and commercial set-ups on river beds and flood plains. The NGT was requested to issue such direction as the Tribunal may deem fit for the restoration of environment of the affected areas in Vrindavan and Mathura.
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