Vrindavan, June 1, 2017 (VT): Over the last few days, the weather has been unseasonably kind. Rain has fallen several times this week, bringing down the temperature a great deal.
Yesterday I was caught in a sudden rainstorm on the way home from lunch. Driving carefully on my motorbike, I was completely soaked by the time I got home. A typical scenario for July or August in Vrindavan, but certainly not May!
Thankful though I am for the gorgeous weather, one thing the early rain made me realize is that this monsoon is going to be messy.
Within half an hour, the roads of Loi Bazaar had started to flood with black sewage water. Maybe the naalis are between cleanings, I don’t know; but it’s not just Loi Bazaar. The problem is pervasive throughout Vrindavan and Mathura.
Today I was reading about the connection between encroachments on the sides of the road and the clealiness level of the naalis, or open sewers. First, the fact that there are even open sewers in 2017 should be unacceptable. And I am appalled see that the street cleaners handling raw sewage without proper equipment or even gloves. In 2017. But I digress.
Many of the drains constructed in recent years are too narrow and too deep to be cleaned properly. On top of that, there are encroachments over the covered areas of the sewage canals. Without removing these illegal encroachments, properly unclogging the naalis is a faraway dream.
The government has not been able to remove the encroachments up till now. And it looks like the monsoon is coming early, too.
Thus, amidst the irresistible romance of the rain, the city braces itself for the inevitable flood of black water, and the diseases it will spread (Hepatitis A and Typhoid for example). And I have to wonder, how long will this really go on?
The icing on the cake is the kuchha (unpaved) parikrama marg being made on the stretch from Dhanuka Ashram to the “Krishna-Balaram tree”, where I could not help but notice they have simply dumped the earth of Vrindavan over piles of plastic and trash. Imagine what that will look like when the floods come.
The municipality will have to act fast to bring the sewage system up to par for the coming monsoon. And it won’t be hard to find out the results of their work – you’ll be up to your knees in it.
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