Agra: In a unique celebration with puja, bhajans, havan, to restore good health to dying "Yamuna Maiyya" river activists and concerned citizens celebrated Mothers' Day evening at the Yamuna ghat.
"Yamuna is our real mother nurturing life, supporting agriculture, culture, religion, architecture, the Sri Krishna-lore, the life-line of millions in the Braj mandal," said Brij Khandelwal, a River Connect Campaign activist.
The river activists demanded urgent steps to clean up Yamuna through dredging and desilting to de-choke the aquafiers. "This needs to be done before the monsoon rains," Dr. Devashish Bhattacharya said.
A former MLA, septugenarian Satish Chandra Gupta Vibhav, said "the river needs water round the year. For this a barrage downstream of the Taj Mahal should be built to store water."
The dry river bed is a source of pollution and a breeding ground for all kinds of mosquitoes and pests. "The Taj Mahal is being directly impacted by the toxic pollutants flowing. The foundation of this Mughal wonder needs constant supply of fresh water," said river activist and vice president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society Shravan Kumar Singh.
With a series of barrages upstream of Agra, the Yamuna remains dry for eight months in a year. This not only creates visual pollution but raises dust level in the ambient air, pointed out Jyoti Vishal Jha, a social activist.
"For more than two years, we are daily holding a meeting and conducting 'aarti' of Yamuna at the Etmauddaula view point park. We have contacted everyone who matters but so far no action has been taken to revive a dying river," lamented pandit Jugal Kishore Shrotriya, of Sri Mathuradheesh temple.