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The Unholy State of Our Holy Yamuna
Save Delhi’s Life Line, Join Yamuna Satyagraha

Join us as we reaffirm our pledge to “free” Mother Yamuna from pollutants and mindless encroachments on her riverbed on August 15, 2008

Venue: Satyagraha Ashram next to the Commonwealth Games Village site on Nizamuddin Bridge that goes from Ring Road to Akshardham Temple.

Time: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m daily since August 1, 2007

India can’t be free if its holy rivers are enslaved and degraded to sewers! Yamuna, the largest tributory of Ganga and running over 1370 km from its origins till its confluence with Ganga in Prayag has some of the oldest and holiest cities lying on its banks. Delhi, Agra, Vrindavan and Mathura are cities that came into being because of the river.  And yet all these cities have become the main cause of defiling and destroying the river by pouring humongous amounts of sewage, industrial waste and plain garbage.

Today the river Yamuna is perhaps the most polluted river in the country with the nation's capital being the worst culprit in transforming it into a huge sewer. When Yamuna enters Delhi, the city government captures all its water at the Wazirabad Barrage to subject it to chemical treatment and use it for drinking water to supply to the residents of Delhi. Except during the three months of monsoon, not a single drop of river water is allowed to flow downstream for nine months in the year. Instead, Delhi pours all its sewage, industrial waste and garbage into the river so that the river is effectively dead and its water so filthy that fish and other water creatures cannot survive in it. What Delhi sends downstream cannot be called water; it is sheer poison.

After the intervention of the Supreme Court Yamuna Action Plan was launched in 1993 to save the river. Rs 1400 crores have already gone down the drain under the pretense of cleaning the river by stopping the flow of untreated sewage in it. Today, the river is in a worse shape than before. 
This sad state of affairs led to the launch of the Yamuna Satyagraha on August 1, 2007 in Delhi under the leadership of Waterman Rajendra Singh, with an ultimate objective to work towards the revival of the river Yamuna in its entirety and to link this struggle to the much larger struggle for saving all other rivers which are in similar if not worse plight.  
The decision of the Delhi Government to construct the Commonwealth Games Village on the riverbed acted as the trigger point for this one- year old Satyagraha. Flood plains are vital for the river ecology and an integral part of the ecosystem. Delhi Government has been allowing mindless encroachments by vested interests to take over the flood plains for massive building projects. The construction of the Akshardham Temple on the riverbed paved the way for numerous such building projects. 
In response to the Yamuna Satygraha, the Lt Governor of Delhi has declared a moratorium on any new construction in the riverbed. The new Zonal Plan of Zone O (river Yamuna) has acknowledged the importance of flood plains and mandated that no new permanent construction shall be raised therein. This is a measure of success of the Satyagrah having succeeded in sending across the right message in the corridors of power. 
But this is just the beginning. The High Court case against the impugned constructions in the riverbed is still to reach its logical conclusion. The pollution levels in the river continue to increase. The state is still to provide any legal protection to the rivers in the country. The people in Delhi are still far removed and unconcerned about the river that is literally their lifeline. They have allowed all the water bodies of the city to be encroached upon and destroyed without a thought for the future. The list of battles ahead to restore the sanctity and health of Yamuna is long....

We appeal to Delhi’s citizens to take the following pledge to do their bit to save Yamuna from being used as a sewer of Delhi:

I……………………..r/o ……………………..

Realizing that the river Yamuna is the life Line of Delhi,

Knowing that the river Yamuna is in a pathetic state due to the willful neglect from the agencies of the state, 

Recognizing that every citizen of Delhi is as much to blame for the sad state of the river,

Grateful that a ‘Yamuna Satyagraha’ for the revival of the river Yamuna is in operation for more than a year now,

Acknowledging that  I can make a difference through my active involvement for saving the river Yamuna, I resolve that:

  1. I shall NOT pollute the river in any manner including throwing of waste, plastic, and left over like flowers, idols, clothes etc from religious ceremonies into the river
  2. I shall RATION my personal use of daily water so that wastewater entering the river is decreased.
  3. I shall visit, participate and SUPPORT Yamuna Satyagrah in my personal capacity by joining the satyagraha at least once a month.
  4. I shall SPREAD awareness about and enlist more support for the Satyagraha among my friends, family, colleagues and neighbours.
  5. I shall PERSUADE my neighbourhood association to press upon the sewage department of the municipal corporation to stop the flow of untreated sewage into the river Yamuna.
  6. I shall press upon our residents’ association to IDENTIFY local water bodies and restore their health.


Contact numbers of Yamuna Satyagraha: 9910153601, 9968655647, 9891013700

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