Almost all the markets in Jabalpur remained closed on Saturday in response to a bandh call given by a religious leader, Samarth Bhaiyaji Maharaj, to highlight the pollution in the Narmada river.
However, the essential services like hospitals and public transport operated as usual. The Congress and the Janata Dal (United) extended their support to the day-long bandh.
Businessmen and traders downed their shutters in various parts of Jabalpur, including Malviya Square, Omti area, Bada Fuhara and Sarafa Bazaar, to support Bhaiyaji’s campaign against the release of untreated sewage water into the river.
Bhaiyaji Maharaj has been living on just fruits for more than a year to protest against the pollution in Narmada. He has been campaigning in areas falling alongside the river, including Mandla, Dindori and Narsingpur, to raise awareness about the conservation of Narmada.
He has urged the state government to stop emptying sewage water into the river and stop illegal sand mining on its riverbed.
Congress city president Dinesh Yadav said, “The state government must take concrete steps to check river pollution by setting up sewage treatment plants…We will keep fighting for the conservation of the river and support Bhaiyaji Maharaj in his noble mission”.
JD (U) leader Govind Yadav said his party fully supports the cause of the religious leader to make the river pollution free.
The state pollution control board, however, downplayed the Narmada pollution. SN Dwivedi, regional officer, state pollution control board, told HT the quality of Narmada waters was of Grade ‘A’.