‘Putrid water is being released by drainages ’
With water from the Yamuna becoming increasingly contaminated and unfit for human consumption in Agra and Mathura, the Uttar Pradesh Government has served notice on the Delhi government to ensure that toxic water is not released into the river by factories.
The State government is of the firm view that toxicity of the Yamuna increases downstream as it flows into Agra and Mathura, mainly on account of the putrid water released by 16 ‘ nullahs ’ (drainage channels) in Delhi.
“Our priority is to provide safe and potable water to the people of Agra and Mathura,” said Uttar Pradesh Irrigation and Public Works Department Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav here on Sunday. Referring to the notice served on the Delhi government on Friday, Mr. Yadav said sewage treatment plants should be installed in factories operating in Delhi.
He said 16 ‘ nullahs’ drained dirty water into the river in Delhi.
“About 400 cusecs of water from the Ganga is supplied to Delhi and although Uttar Pradesh would not want to suspend the water supply, if there is no reply to the notice by the Delhi government, the State government will consider the option of supplying the same water to Agra and Mathura,” Mr. Yadav told reporters on Sunday.
The Minister said filthy water being released into the Yamuna in return for clean drinking water being supplied to Delhi was “certainly not on”. The toxicity of the river has proved harmful for humans and marine life, he said.
Taking pot-shots at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal without naming him, the Irrigation Minister said Mr. Kejriwal has been elected by the people and “should work towards their benefit instead of indulging in naatakbaazi (theatrics).” The Yamuna water issue has been taken up with Delhi earlier too. Mr. Yadav said he had raised the subject with former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit at a meeting of Chief Ministers presided over by the then Union Water Resources Minister, Harish Rawat. However, no headway was made, he said.
The Minister said with the SP government’s emphasis on development, cleaning the Ganga, Yamuna and Gomti rivers has been prioritised.
A Rs. 30,000 crore river cleaning and desiltation project has been sent to the Central government, Mr. Yadav said, adding that important centres like the Garh Mukteshwar (on the banks of the Ganga in Ghaziabad district) along the course of the rivers would also be developed.
About the SP’s prospects in the Lok Sabha elections, the Irrigation Minister, who is the younger brother of Mulayam Singh, claimed that the party would win 60 seats in U.P.