Despite the ITO Bridge being fenced with high railings, Delhiites have not stopped throwing puja items into the Yamuna. Many people, in fact, can be seen trying very hard to throw marigold garlands past the railings, into the river. The myriad garlands stuck on the railings are proof of many a failed attempts.
To clean up the river and restore the floodplains, an issue the Yamuna Action Plans seeks to address and for which hundreds of crores have gone waste, the National Green Tribunal in January ordered that people caught throwing puja items into the river will be fined Rs.5,000. However, that does not seem to have deterred many.
Though the government has tried to place dustbins, mark separate sections for people to bathe in the river during Chhath Puja, and to restrict others from immersing idols during Durga Puja, the river continues to remain polluted.
Similarly, the municipal corporations have proposed imposing a sanitation cess for organising bhandaras or any other religious function on roads.
“The House didn’t clear the proposal though it was practical to charge people for littering,” said a senior North Corporation official.
The councillors had reasoned that cleaning the roads was the responsibility of the corporations and imposing an additional cess for organising religious functions will not go down well with the people.
“If people can give away food for free, they should also clean the roads. But that never happens. Mounds of used plates, plastic cups and leftover food then becomes the responsibility of the sanitation workers,” the official added.