Before Ganga, Narendra Modi should focus on cleaning Yamuna
Yamuna holds a great importance to four states - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Haryana, where its water are the lifeline of millions of people and is full of industrial chemicals dumped by factories in Delhi, Haryana and even Mathur
The mission of cleaning up the Ganga will remain incomplete without first cleaning the Yamuna - the biggest contributor of pollutants into the Ganga
Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi promised people of Varanasi that he will make the Ganga pollution-free, like the Sabarmati in Gujarat.
But Modi probably neglected the fact that the mission of cleaning up the Ganga will remain incomplete without first cleaning the Yamuna which is the biggest contributor of pollutants into the Ganga.
Just like the Ganga internationally projects the religious heritage of India, the Yamuna forms the backdrop of the Taj Mahal in Agra which is the tourism ambassador of India.
Both rivers have their importance but Yamuna holds a great importance to four states - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Haryana, where its water are the lifeline of millions of people.
However, once the river passes through Delhi, it becomes so infested with sewage that by the time it reaches Agra, it is nothing but a huge sewage drain, full of industrial chemicals dumped by factories in Delhi, Haryana and even Mathura.
The Yamuna Bachao Andolan, which managed to reach Delhi last year and extricate a promise from the central government that something will be done to reduce the river's pollution soon, appears to have arrived at a stalemate, with its leadership stuck in its own squabbles.
The two-day Yamuna Mahotsav began in Agra on Wednesday where prominent residents of the city pledged to make efforts to keep the river clean.
Talking to IndiaToday.in, Puran Dawar, a leading industrialist of Agra claimed that the pollution in Yamuna is entirely from industrial effluent coming from upstream towns, including Delhi.
The industries of Agra are strictly government by the Taj Trapezium Authority rules set up by the Supreme Court of India and hence, no industry that spreads pollution is allowed to function in Agra.
However, he said, the river's ecosystem is dying under the pressure of industrial waste coming from upstream and unless something is done soon, this river is bound to die in the next couple of decades, which will destroy the habitation potential of Agra, which comes under the dark zone in terms of subsoil water.
Dawar said it was his hope that Modi will also look towards the Yamuna, along with the Ganga, as he promised at a rally in Agra last year.