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Delhiites sign petition to save the Yamuna

Following is an article by Bindu Shajan Perappadan (for The Hindu)

Citizens sign plea to save the Yamuna

April 12: Over a thousand citizens of the Capital have signed a petition that has been submitted to the President, the Prime Minister and the Delhi Chief Minister appealing for help to protect the city’s only river — the Yamuna.

Copies of the signed petition have also been submitted to the Union Urban Development Minister, the Union Environment Minister and the Union Sports Minister appealing for measures to help save the river.

“This is the first such instalment of the petition. We plan to send out more with every additional 1,000 signatures that we get. The Yamuna today is one of the most polluted and threatened river systems in the country and according to experts the 22 km stretch of the river in Delhi from Wazirabad Barrage to Okhla Barrage is perhaps the most threatened riverine ecosystem in the world,” said “Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan” convenor Manoj Kumar Misra, who is spearheading the movement.

“The Yamuna’s flood plain is under threat of further conversion in the form of the proposed creation of the Games Village spread over some 42.5 hectares in the eastern part of the floodplain for the Commonwealth Games in 2010,” said Mr. Misra.

Experts warn that if construction is allowed it will further deplete the extent of the floodplain in the eastern bank of the river and will also set off a potential chain reaction of developmental activities that will endanger the existence of the floodplain.

The Yamuna floodplain along with the Delhi Ridge is one of the most critical natural areas in Delhi.

Key role

The floodplain while playing a key role in the management of floods also ensures ground water re-charges and this ground water is today one of the most important source of present and future water supplies to the water-deficit city of Delhi.

“Unfortunately the river floodplain in the city has seen gradual land use change through encroachments on it either by illegal encroachers or most unfortunately by the State-created structures including a number of power plants, the Delhi Secretariat building, sports stadiums and the recently created Metro railway stations. The Akshardham temple has also come up therein despite severe objections from individuals as well as government and non-government organisations,” noted the petition.

Source: Online edition of the The Hindu

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Dr. Govind Singh is Co-Founder of Delhi Greens organisation and the Editor-in-Chief of the Delhi Greens Blog.

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