Vrindavan Today Weekly Yamuna River News Digest: Issue 3
In this issue:
- In the Dham: FoV’s monsoon tree plantation drive, BVHA’s push for action against Yamuna encroachments and Banke Bihariji’s Yamuna water bath
This week, Friends of Vrindavan (FoV) announced plans to plant trees along both roads leading into Vrindavan and along the Parikrama Marg. They are conducting a fundraising campaign to sponsor 100 trees at Rs 2000 each. The fee covers tree, plantation, metal guard and three years of maintenance.
Jagannath Poddar, along with the Braj Vrindavan Heritage Alliance (BVHA), sent a petition to the Green Tribunal, a national entity handling adjudication and enforcement of environmental, forest and conservation related cases. The petition asks the Green Tribunal to “direct agencies to raize all illegal structures built on the flood plains (of the Yamuna) and dump the debris accumulated off the river flood zone area.” It also asks that First Information Reports (FIRs) be filed against all farmhouses, plot owners, real estate agents and commercial plot owners currently encroaching upon the river banks.
Note was made that the Yamuna water used to bathe Vrindavan’s beloved Banke Bihariji deity is no longer purified by boiling and “other steps in consonance with vedic procedure.” Now, due to high levels of Yamuna pollution, Banke Bihariji’s Yamuna is purified using reverse osmosis filtration to protect the deity from discoloration.
Cited articles: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Vrindavan
- Petition against Lakhwar Dam Project progress stalled at just over 200 signatures – Please sign and share!
Save Yamuna to Save Vrindavan has created an online petition addressed to the Prime Minister of India and other key officials involved with the Lakhwar Dam project to voice concern about the project. The online petition is in support of the petition already addressed to these politicians by eminent lawyers, activists, groups and individuals last week. To read the petition, which offers reliable evidence as to why the Lakhwar Dam Project should not move forward, and to sign the petition, please use the following link:
The petition garnered 200 signatures in its first week, but this is not nearly enough to register on politicians’ radars. The Lakhwar Dam Project has no local level planning, no alternative plans and no impact assessment. The Lakhwar Dam project includes two dams and one barrage, starting just 120 km from Yamuna’s source at Yamunotri, and would submerge an estimated 868 hectares of forest and 50 villages.
- Delhi-based NGO advocates for for National Rivers Commission Act:
Manoj Misra, founder of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, a Delhi-based NGO serving the Yamuna, wrote an editorial on the need for the central government to fulfill its responsibility for the health of the nation’s rivers; policy places rivers in the hands of the state government, but all interstate rivers (which is almost all of them, according to Mr. Misra) are the domain of the central government
Cited article: http://yamunajiyeabhiyaan.blogspot.com/2013/05/rivers-lost-in-policy-hindu-12-may-2013.html
- Heavy metals found in vegetables grown along, washed in Yamuna:
Citing research published by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) last year on heavy metals found in vegetables grown near or washed in Yamuna, this article echoes the protesters from this past March’s Yamuna padyatra, stressing the ritual significance of the river and suggesting that a separate canal be built alongside Ymauna to carry wastewater.
- Revival of Saraswati River, if completed, could take strain off Yamuna:
The Wall Street Journal reports on an ambitious project to revive the Saraswati River, the third river forming the “triveni Sangam” at Allahabad along with the Ganga and Yamuna. The project, undertaken by India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has stalled in its tracks. The article emphasizes the ways in which revival of the Saraswati would help meet the water needs of the state of Haryana, which currently relies on the Yamuna, creating tensions with Delhi (last year, cited in article) and Braj (this year’s padyatra, not mentioned in the article).
- Panel set up in response to Yamuna padyatra suggests better rainwater harvesting in Delhi
“Rainwater harvesting was made compulsory in Delhi for buildings with an area of 500 sq m or more in July 2012. It has also been decided that for commercial buildings which fail to implement rain water harvesting within a year and for domestic buildings that do not get rain water harvesting within three years, water will be charged at 1.5 times the normal rate.”
The panel, comprised of the chairman of the Central Ground Water Board and members from Delhi Jal Board and Delhi Pollution Control Committee, also suggested removal of all encroachments on the floodplain for proper groundwater recharge.
Cited article: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-05-15/delhi/39281325_1_rain-water-harvesting-rainwater-harvesting-ground-water-recharge
- Delhi consolidates riverbank memorials for figures of national importance:
Important figures in the nation and its capital will have a shared samadhi due to lack of space along the Yamuna for separate memorials. The Union cabinet proposed that a shared samadhi called ‘Rashtriya Smriti’ be created along the Yamuna banks (location not disclosed). Memorials to leaders already take up over 245 acres of land along the Yamuna, referred t in the article as “prime real estate.”
Cited article: http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/No-separate-samadhis-VVIPs-now-to-have-common-memorial-place/Article1-1061208.aspx
- More on the threat to the Gangetic dolphin in Yamuna:
Times of India reports on threats to the Gangetic dolphin. Although pollution plays a large role, illegal fishing an d dredging practices also pose a large threat. The article cites the Hamirpur district (approximately half way between Agra and Allahabad) as an area where dredging and illegal fishing along the Yamuna are particularly harmful.
Cited article: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Dredging-illegal-fishing-hurting-dolphin-numbers/articleshow/20101812.cms
- Ghaziabad government officials assaulted by Yamuna sand thieves/mafia:
Three government officials were left in serious condition at a local hospital after being assaulted by mafia members they were questioning about illegal sand mining. For more information on illegal sand mining and mafia involvement, please see our first issue from two weeks ago.
Cited article: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/uttar-pradesh-sand-mafia-brutally-assaults-officials/392082-3-242.html
- Review of book looking at historic, religious, social and scientific aspects of “Dirty Sacred Rivers”:
Praveen Singh, assistant professor at the School of Human Ecology, Ambedkar University in New Delhi, praises journalist Cheryl Colopy’s book about her travels across the Ganga basin. The subject is a common one amongst scholars: “The story revolves around the question of how south Asian rivers have been transformed from being considered sacred, living beings to commodities, and sewers for industrial and domestic waste.” However, Singh praises this work as unique and insightful: “she weaves together mythology, scientific discourses, political drama and technological blunders in a manner only a master novelist can do, without compromising with the reality that she captures through her seasoned journalistic eyes. “
Cited article: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/rivers-blue-and-black
- Yamuna Biodiversity Park: Phase one complete
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has developed 157 of the 457 acres set aside for a biodiversity park. The park, which is part if the DDA’s Yamuna Beautification Plan (YBP), is meant to cultivate and conserve native trees, plants and animals. According to the article, “the flora and fauna which were found in abundance along the Yamuna 100 years ago have successfully been revived.”
Cited article: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Dredging-illegal-fishing-hurting-dolphin-numbers/articleshow/20101812.cmshttp://www.dailypioneer.com/city/biodiversity-park-revives-yamunas-pristine-glory.html
- CSE’s Nitya Jacob: Aggressively convert Delhi’s drains into treatment zones
Frustrated with piecemeal attempts at treating Delhi’s wastewater, Nitya Jacob advocates conversion of all drains into treatment zones, IF and AFTER:
- Separate drains and treatment facilities are set up for waste from batteries, electroplating and engine oil
- Drains fully covered with no ventilation (done to beautify the city for 2010’s Commonwealth Games) are given vent
- A large stretch or entire drain is approached all at once, rather than in segments that receive isolated attention while the rest of the drain is forgotten
Every week, Vrindavan Today presents a summary of articles and news about issues affecting the Yamuna River from around the web and elsewhere. If you have Yamuna-related news that you would like to see published here, please email Katie Jo Walter at [email protected]. To stay up to date with the latest Braj Vrindavan devotion and development news, please follow the Vrindavan Today RSS feed and bookmark our site, which offers articles in both English and Hindi: www.vrindavantoday.org. Also, please join our Facebook news and discussion group for Yamuna issues at:www.facebook.com/groups/saveyamunasavevrindavan The group currently has close to 4800 members. We would love to have you help us reach the 5000 mark!
Vrindavan Dham ki jai!
Yamuna Maharani ki jai!
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