A prayer for the river

Despite an NGT order banning immersion of idols made of non-biodegradable material into the Yamuna, Ketan Bajaj found many devotees leaving behind a pile of waste in and around the river on September 18.Photo: Special arrangement  

On Monday morning, a man working with a leading private company was spotted praying on the footpath right outside the National Green Tribunal.

All by himself, with his eyes shut, 43 year old Ketan Bajaj, a resident of Sarita Vihar, intended to snap government bodies out of their slumber. He started his prayers a little after 9 a.m. An hour later, he was asked by the police personnel to move inside the NGT premises.

And what forced him to take this step?

On September 18, three days after the NGT banned immersion of idols made of non-biodegradable material into the Yamuna and asked the agencies to keep a check, Mr Bajaj reached Yamuna Ghat at Kalindi Kunj with some volunteers.

What he saw, shocked him. There were neither any mobile toilets nor any dustbins. The devotees, in celebration, were immersing idols of Lord Ganesha and Vishwakarma in the river along with plastics, flowers, puja materials, etc. The devotees left behind a pile of waste, plastic, flowers, etc, in and around the river.

The directions of the NGT seemed to have gone down the river too. This ground reality disturbed him.

“I, with some volunteers, prevented people from throwing plastic bags in the river. Some volunteers, mostly kids, also swam in the river to fetch the plastic bags already thrown. These were then deposited on the bank of the river. There was no dustbin kept by the administration. There was no signboard to inform people not to throw plastic bags into the river. Now I am just praying that some officials would assure that the huge amount of garbage that has got collected would be removed soon,” said Mr. Bajaj, a PhD in computational neuroscience from IIT Delhi who now works with a private company in the US.

The scenes from the Yamuna Ghat at Kalindi Kunj from September 18-20 raised doubts on government’s oneness with the NGT on revitalising Yamuna by 2017.

“The river has life, but it cannot speak for itself and tell about its suffering. In three days (18-20 Sept), immersion of idols ceremony had massacred the Yamuna Ghat at Kalindi Kunj, Delhi. This prayer was to seek compassion for the river. There are only 2 requests: Place dustbins at the ghat that would be cleared by MCD regularly and send workers to clear the huge mess created during immersion ceremony,” he said.

Mr Bajaj prayed the government agencies forget their differences and come together to revive the Yamuna. He said if the government does not act, he would hire sweepers and get it cleaned for which he requested support from masses.

I am praying that some officials would assure that the garbage that has got collected would be removed soon

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 3:17:51 PM |

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