Yamuna turns into an open desert in UP

Pandit Anand Swaroop Sharma, 62, is deeply offended. Being a devout Hindu he, through out his life, always began his daily chores after having holy dip in Yamuna every morning, reports S Raju.
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Updated on Jun 23, 2010 10:08 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByS Raju, Baghpat

Pandit Anand Swaroop Sharma, 62, is deeply offended. Being a devout Hindu he, through out his life, always began his daily chores after having holy dip in Yamuna every morning.

But, for past seven months, he has stopped going to Yamuna. Reason, there is no water even for ' Aachman' (water consumed by a pilgrim during bath in a sacred river). Every morning, while taking his bath at home, Panditji expresses his deep remorse for terrible condition of a sacred river, he always admired as Mother." Death of Yamuna in Baghpat is like a disaster in my life", quipped Sharma with choked voice. Like him, there are many others who also have stopped going to Yamuna, as river is waterless.

In fact, people of western UP have not seen their sacred river Yamuna since past seven months. Over hundred kms stretch of the river, between Delhi to Saharanpur, has completely dried up. There is no trace of water even trickling even in mainstream. Upto miles and miles, entire riverbed is nothing but an expansion of sand. Commuters use sandy riverbank as a shortcut to Haryana as river acts as boarder line between Haryana and UP.

People of the area and politicians held greed of Haryana and Delhi responsible for the death of river in western UP. As per an agreement Haryana and Delhi, from Hathinikund barrage in Saharanpur, draw their share of water from Yamuna." Yamuna has turned into an open desert in our area because of unlawful overdrawing of water by duo states", blamed Swami Ramswaroop Brahmchari who has spearheaded many protest campaigns for revival of Yamuna in Baghpat. " Yamuna`s disappearance is a religious, spiritual and economic set back for us", said Swami elaborating that Hindus have been deprived of many religious rituals, holy baths during religious fair as Yamuna has no water.

Thanks to district administration who stationed a water tank on riverbank through out Sunday, on the day of Ganga Dussehera, to provide pilgrims water for their holy bath.

Prakash and Kamla of nearby town Loni, arrived here with their four grandchildren to cool themselves in Yamuna on the occasion of Ganga Dussehera. But, ended their pilgrimage with holy bath under sprinkling water of the tanker. " I won't come again ", said visibly upset Akshay, prakash`s grandson and a student of class 5. " People come here with religious fervour but goes back as disgruntle lot ", said councillor Pawan Kr Sharma.

MLA of Baghpat, Nawab Kokab Hamid along with people of Baghpat adopted all democratic methods to save their river but of no avail. " My efforts in Assembly and with concerned officials to save the river largely remained unresponsive", said The MLA. Kaluram, principal of Prithviraj Degree College, declares that Yamuna has turned into an open desert, which would soon engulf the district.

Road jams and staging dharna for Yamuna have so far failed to move officials who are responsible to ensure availability of water at least in the mainstream of the river. " It is order of the Apex Court that rivers can't be deprived of water in its mainstream ", said Krishanpal of village Daula insisting that people of Baghpat have been robbed of their river to provide water to Delhi and Haryana.

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