Staff Reporter

“Shift the Games Village site by October 2”

A “havan” for the river’s protection has been planned

We will intensify the drive after Oct. 15: Youth for Justice

NEW DELHI: Stepping up pressure on the Government to ban all construction work on the floodplains of the Yamuna here, activists and environmentalists campaigning to save the river have set an October 2 deadline for the Government to shift the Commonwealth Games Village site.

The campaigners, who are part of the ongoing Yamuna Satyagraha, have cautioned that if the Government fails to deliver by the due date, the satyagraha will be intensified and spread across the city.

“We have decided to strengthen the satyagraha movement. If the Government does not concede our demands by October 2, the Yamuna Satyagraha will be launched at 11 sites in the Capital and campaigners and activists will converge at these sites from across the country,” said “Waterman” Rajinder Singh of the Yamuna Satyagraha.

“People from far corners of the country are joining the movement to save the Yamuna and claim their right on land and water. The Government will not be allowed to destroy the natural resources that sustain civilisations,” he said.

To coincide with the birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, a “havan” for the river’s protection has also been planned by Shaheed Bhagat Singh Brigade on Friday.

“We are a group of citizens aiming to rekindle the ideals of our freedom fighters and have been involved in the maintenance of various memorials of independence heroes. We will organise a havan on Friday at Surdas Ghat next to Wazirabad Bridge on the western side,” said Suraj Bhan Godara of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Brigade.

‘Lifeline in danger’

“Rivers are the lifeline of civilisations and the independence of the rivers is in danger. So we have decided to put our force into saving the Yamuna from construction activities, which are posing a grave challenge to the survival of the river and the city,” he said.

Also doing their bit for the river, students of Delhi University under the banner of Youth for Justice will organise a “youth march” on Friday.

The march will begin at the Vivekananda Statue near the Arts Faculty on the North Campus.

“After October 15, when colleges will reopen following a break, we will intensify the movement to save the Yamuna. We are planning a rock show-cum-protest event in November and a protest march from the University campus to the Delhi Assembly during the winter session. Work to mobilise more students is currently on,” said Kapil Mishra of Youth for Justice.

“It makes no sense to sacrifice the river for a nine-day event. As of now we are urging the Government to shift the site of the Games Village, but if that demand is not met we can also push for cancelling the Commonwealth Games altogether,” said Diwan Singh of Yamuna Satyagraha.