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Yamuna activists march to warn of threat to Taj Mahal

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Rubbish collected on the banks of the Yamuna River, next to the Taj Mahal. Agra, India.

Agra: Activists and environmentalists here marched to demand release of water from upstream barrages to sustain the ecology of Yamuna and provide moisture to the foundation of the Taj Mahal.

Highlighting the grave threat to the Taj Mahal from a dry Yamuna river bed, activists marched in a procession Sunday night from Haathi Ghat, near the Agra Fort to the Etmauddaula viewpoint park, raising slogans to demand the release of water.

Last week at a conference in Agra, architects and conservationists warned of serious threat to the foundation of the Taj Mahal due to the dry river.

An artificial park developed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the rear of the Taj had distanced the river by 100 yards.

A former IIT professor SC Handa had raised objections to the park warning it would prove dangerous to the foundation of the Taj.

As pointed out by eminent historian Professor R Nath, the foundation rests on sal wood beams which require constant moisture.

Historians have pointed out that the Taj Mahal rests on wooden planks and concrete foundation “which require constantly enough moisture”, environmentalist Dr Devashish Bhattacharya said.

The river remains dry for most part of the year, as water flow is captivated by Haryana and Delhi government denying downstream cities their claim to the river water, he added.

Speakers demanded a barrage on Yamuna for Agra city’s growing water needs. Shravan Kumar Singh, a conservationist said the barrage will be able to provide enough moisture to the foundation of the Taj.

Dr Anand Rai, president of India Rising, an NGO, said river police squads should be activated to keep an eye on polluters. The drains and sewer drains opening into the river have to be tapped.

For far too long Yamuna had been neglected. “So far there have only been promises and no action. We can no longer wait. Citizens of Agra are angry and frustrated,” said Jyoti, Charmayne Tiwari, Anita Yadav, women activists of the River Connect Campaign.

Earlier, activists of half a dozen organisations working for Yamuna met in Vrindavan to demand a Yamuna River Basin Commission to plan, execute and monitor various projects for the cleaning and conservation of the river.

 

(IANS)

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Yamuna Flowing Above Danger Mark in Delhi

The water level was rising due to rain in northern India and discharge of water from the Hathnikund Barrage in Haryana

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Yamuna
The water discharged from the barrage, which provides drinking water to Delhi, normally takes 72 hours to reach the capital, the official said. Pixabay

The Yamuna continued to flow above the danger mark at 206.44 metres at 6 p.m. on Wednesday but with the water level not rising any more. The river breached the danger mark of 205.33m on Monday night, and the authorities were expecting the level to go up to 207m by Wednesday.

However, the waters showed a receding trend since the wee hours of Wednesday, a Flood Control Department official told IANS.

“The water level, which was steady at 206.60 metres started showing a receding trend since afternoon. Although water is reducing, the situation is critical and we are keeping a close watch on it,” the official said.

The water level was rising due to rain in northern India and discharge of water from the Hathnikund Barrage in Haryana.

“Water is being released from the barrage since Saturday,” the official said, adding that Haryana released 8.28 lakh cusecs of water on Sunday evening. The water discharged from the barrage, which provides drinking water to Delhi, normally takes 72 hours to reach the capital, the official said.

Yamuna
The water level was rising due to rain in northern India and discharge of water from the Hathnikund Barrage in Haryana. Pixabay

Thousands of people living along the banks of the river were moved to safer places. They have been asked to stay in the tents until the water level comes down to normal. Rail and vehicular traffic on the Old Yamuna Bridge was suspended as the water level rose. Delhi witnessed the worst floods in 1978 when the river’s level touched a record 207.49m.

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot inspected a relief camp at Usmanpur on Wednesday on the east bank of the Yamuna. Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, who is also a Lok Sabha MP from the city, visited the flood-affected areas of Kisan Basti, Usmanpur and Gadhi Mandu. (IANS)