The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav, has blamed the Delhi Government for the alarming pollution level in the Yamuna upstream of Agra. “Yamuna has been killed by Delhi”, Mr. Yadav said, speaking at a function for releasing the population figures of the Gangetic dolphin.
On the conclusion of the three-day “Save Ganga Save Dolphin” campaign on Sunday, Mr. Yadav expressed happiness that the number of the mammal had gone up from 600 in 2005 to 671 in 2012 in the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh.
The three-day survey was conducted in nine rivers – the Ganga, the Yamuna, Chambal, Ken, Betwa, Ghagra, Saryu, Rapti and Sone -- and involved 18 teams of about 150 people. The all-India figure of the estimated population of Gangetic dolphin, which is endemic to the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna river systems, was 1600 in 2005. Declared a critically endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the dolphin was declared India’s National Aquatic Animal in 2009.
Mr. Yadav focussed on saving the rivers and ensuring clean water. “If prompt measures are not taken it would leave a detrimental effect on the population of the river species like the Gangetic dolphin as well as on the humans”, the Chief Minister said.
Stating that the main source of pollution in the Yamuna “is the Delhi Government”, Mr. Yadav said the river gets a fresh lease of life after the waters of the Chambal mingled with it at Pachnada in Etawah. The Chief Minister sounded a word of caution that if the reported move to construct a dam on the Chambal upstream of Etawah materializes then the water flow would reduce. The Betwa and Ken rivers downstream of Etawah also contributed to the Yamuna’s flow, which was the maximum when it merged with the Ganga at the Sangam in Allahabad, he added.
The Chief Minister made this observation after it was brought to his notice by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, Rupak De, that the survey on the dolphins was not conducted in the Yamuna upstream of Agra on account of the river being heavily polluted, which meant that the animal is found only in fresh water.
On keeping the Ganga clean, Mr. Yadav said the Centre has also a big responsibility for it.