Save Yamuna is the campaign launched by Vrindavan activists to save River Yamuna from sewage waste, industrial wastes release and lack of sanitation facilities. The activists fear that the coming Kumbh Mela may lead the Yamuna into even much poorer stage.
New Kerala reports:
- Even as preparations are underway here for a large religious festival starting next month, eco-activists led by former director general of police K.P.S. Gill and working under the Save Yamuna to Save Vrindavan campaign have demanded rethinking on building a new bridge at the heritage Keshi Ghat.
- Though district authorities are working overtime to ensure that basic civic infrastructure is ready by early January for the festival they call a Kumbh Mela, leaders of various Akharas (Hindu sects) in Vrindavan are not satisfied with the state of preparedness. “Time is running out and our chief worry is the sad state of river Yamuna,” a sadhu near the Keshi Ghat said.
- A festival is held every 12 years in Vrindavan, the centre of Sri Krishna’s Braj Bhoomi, that attracts millions of devotees. Situated on the banks of the Yamuna river, Vrindavan attracts hundreds of thousands of Krishna devotees from all parts of the world for thefestival, this time beginning Jan 20.
- A tented township is coming up on the dry river bed where hundreds of organisations, eco-groups and sadhus of different Hindu sects will put up stalls. District Magistrate Dinesh Shukla has constituted a committee to monitor the progress of the civil works. Acharya Jaimini, an eminent musicologist of Vrindavan, told IANS: “So far the town is ill-prepared for hosting a big show like the Kumbh. They should have started six months ago.”
- District authorities said a request had been made to the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department to release water in the river so that the pollution level is brought down and there is enough water for the mass bathing programme. Hundreds of temples and dharamshalas (guest houses) in the pilgrimage town are gearing up to meet the expected rush of pilgrims to begin immediately after Makar Sankranti, Jan 14.
- Braj Foundation, an NGO, is engaged in resurrecting and restoring heritage spots and water bodies, according to Raghav Mittal, project director. Meanwhile, environmentalists and eco-activists marched in a procession Friday afternoon to protest construction of the new bridge.
- “The new bridge will also increase the level of pollution in the river,” an activist said. A sadhu said Yamuna was the lifeline of Braj Mandal. “The river has to be saved at any cost.”