Vrindavan, 22 June, 2013: Though the water rise in Yamuna may be a reason to rejoice among the Yamuna crusaders who are fighting to release more water and check pollution in the river, but the rise of water level may invite accident any day as some of the unfinished pillars of the half-circular bridge gets submerged in the river during monsoon. The boats ferry near the half built pillars during the time of flood may strike on them and capsize, as the pillars are invisible due to the high water level.
This bridge was being built at the Keshi Ghat along the river in the Vrindavan Development Project by the then Mayawati Government. The bridge was stopped with the intervention of the Allahabad High court in 2010, the injunction of which was vacated later by the court. Somehow the construction of the bridge couldn’t resume as the No objection certificate is yet to be obtained from the Archaeological Survey of India. The concerned governments department apprehended that without the ASI permission, the petitioner might pursue against the project in the Apex Court. The Yugal Kishore Temple near Keshi Ghat is protected by the ASI and the proposed bridge is within the 300 meters of the ASI protected monument, which is a regulated zone and as per the law no construction can take place without the ASI nod in the regulated area.
Madhumangal Shukla, the petitioner in the court, has written to the Divisional Commissioner of Agra, the District Magistrate and the Vice Chairman of the Mathrua-Vrindavan Development Authority to dismantle the pillars standing in the middle of the river, citing that the construction was illegal and it stops the natural flow of the Yamuna River. He also demanded to knock down those rooms which were built on the bank of Yamuna by the PWD department to store the materials needed to construct the bridge at that time. ‘Now when the bridge is not being built the concrete rooms should be knocked down as they are promoting the illegal encroachments in the locality and have become obstruction between the Yamuna and its ghats’, said Shukla in his letter. All sort of the illegal activities are conducted in these rooms included the sale and consumption of the intoxicants, he further added.
In the letter Shri Shukla wrote to the authorities that the road in front of the Keshi Ghat and Bhramar Ghat was not there a decade back. It was built on the Yamuna flood plain. People used to walk on the sand to do the parikrama, when the river changed its bed in summer and the water flow was low in it. But the Yamuna Flood Plain was illegally encroached by putting garbage, debris and rubble on it and then the government built the road to facilitate the illegal colonies in the name of parikrama marg. The petitioner said that Keshi Ghat is the only ghat where the Yamuna touches the river in the series of 42 ghat which are either broken or encroached. He said that there is a possibility to bring the Yamuna back to the Bhramar Ghat if the District Administration removes the illegal road in front of it. The Gambhira ashram which owns the ghat has welcomed the demand of Shri Shukla and promised him to provide all sort of support in protecting the ‘swaroop’ of Yamuna Ghats in Vrindavan.
Echoing the voice of Madhumangal Shukla, Jagannath Poddar, Director of Friends of Vrindavan, an NGO which is known for its environmental services for the Divine land of Vrindavan said that the ghats of Vrindavan are rich in miniature architecture, which is getting diminished by the negligence, encroachments and the arbitrary project implementation of the government. The sewer wells shouldn’t have been built on Yamuna in the first place. The area near the series of ghats should be declared as the heritage corridor, where special attention should be given by the tourism department. The beautiful steps of the ghats were knocked down to build the storm water drain, which ended nowhere except in the Yamnua. Acharya Naresh Narayan the senior BVHA activist opined that the projects proposals are made without public consultations and involvement. He said that if the bridge was allowed to be built, it would compromise with the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere of the area near Sudamakuti and the Tatiasthan. It would have turned a complete ring road for Vrindavan. He added if the project was completed people would do the Arti of the bridge instead of Yamuna, as the pillars would push the river further.
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