The alarming level of pollution in the Yamuna rocked Parliament on Monday, as MPs cutting across party lines asked the government to launch a time-bound programme to check the deteriorating quality of water flowing down from Mathura.
Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj said in spite of thousands of crores being spent on the Yamuna Action Plan, there has been no improvement at all. “The river remains thoroughly polluted and has dried up in Mathura and Vrindavan.”
She said,“If the river had passed through Rae Bareli, these problems would have been taken care of much earlier. Soniaji (UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi) is so powerful.”
Gandhi, who represents Rae Bareli and was present in the House, was seen making some remarks but could not be heard in the din. Speaker Meira Kumar said a strong message should go to the people that the government will take all possible steps to make the river pollution-free. “River Yamuna should be made free from pollution. This is our resolve.”
In the Rajya Sabha, Ravishankar Prasad (BJP) said the Yamuna has been turned into a “sewer and gutter” due to pollution. “Where has the Rs. 5,500 crore gone which was spent on cleaning the river under the Yamuna Action Plan. Of this, R2,800 crore has been spent in Delhi only but the river has become more polluted.”
Prasad said at Vrindavan and Mathura, the Yamuna has turned black and asked what steps were planned by the government to purify the water.