Activists in Ghaziabad demanded for the revival of water bodies and removal of encroachment in the river Hindon zone to rejuvenate the river. Revival of the Hindon has been a longstanding demand of residents.
The activists said the water bodies such as ponds, pokhars etc are a part of the river system and need to be revived. Many of them have been encroached upon while most have dried up and have been used for development activities.
“A number of ponds, which are a part of the river system, were lost in the last few decades. There is severe depletion of groundwater with hardly any water recharge available. The river is already dying and contains effluents and discharge from industries and cities. The agencies must build up a movement to revive water bodies that will rejuvenate the river,” said Vikrant Sharma, an environmentalist.
According to official data, Ghaziabad district has presence of nearly 1,787 ponds and water bodies, spread over an area of 915.3 hectares. Out of these, nearly 175 water bodies, having an area of 33.64 hectares, were found to be encroached upon. During an encroachment drive till April, nearly 16 water bodies over an area of 2.91 hectares were freed up.
“We have decided to revive 40 ponds in each of the development blocks. Strict instructions are also given for removal of encroachment and revival of ponds before the monsoon. We have also identified 32 ponds that will be revived soon, before monsoon,” Krishna Karunesh, district’s chief development officer, said.
The rejuvenation of 40 ponds, 10 each in four blocks, will also include plantation of trees around the water bodies. Last year, rejuvenation of 21 ponds were proposed but work could be carried out only on 17 of them.
Activists said that the measures undertaken so far have hardly yielded fruitful results, and called for more vigorous movement to revive the ponds.
“The encroachments along the river zone have flourished due to the land mafia. The river space in areas near Vijay Nagar is openly encroached upon and hardly any action is taken against them. Groundwater is declining sharply and recharge facilities are mostly defunct. If we need to revive the Hindon, water bodies connected to it should be revived simultaneously with the measures proposed by officials,” Sushil Raghav, an environmentalist who filed a petition with National Green Tribunal for revival and rejuvenation of water bodies in Ghaziabad, said.