By Brij KhandelwalAgra, April 3 : A day long fast by the BJP mayor of Agra, Navin Jain, to highlight the problem of pollution in the Taj city, on Friday, along-with hundreds of party workers flouting Covid-19 safety norms, has virtually opened a pandora’s box.
The opposition parties have targeted him for his failure and total helplessness in dealing with the pollution.Many wondered how the mayor could fail in his efforts the party is in power in state as well as Centre and there are nine local MLAs and two MPs too.“Was the mayor pointing out finger at the Yogi Adityanath government?” they asked.
In an utter frustration to deal with the pollution problem, the mayor kept a “maun vrat”, while his party colleagues did all the sermonising raising the decibel level higher and higher.
Neither the municipal corporation nor the state pollution control board, has been able to contain the high level of air pollution, despite a series of directives from the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal.The high SPM and RSPM levels have been proving a health hazard to both humans and the stone monuments.
“Perhaps it would only be proper if the government released a white paper on measures taken after the historic Supreme Court judgement on the PIL of MC Mehta in 1993 and 1996, to insulate the Taj Mahal from air pollution.Over the years, thousands of crores of rupees have been squandered away to control pollution in the Taj Trapezium Zone, but the results are yet to come,” said Shravan Kumar Singh, of the River Connect Campaign.
Environmentalist Devashish Bhattacharya told IANS, “The mayor’s fast is a welcome move as it highlighted the issue of pollution dramatically.
The main reason for pollution in Agra is the dry and heavily polluted Yamuna river which needs urgent attention.The dry river bed needs uninterrupted flow of fresh water.
We have long been demanding desilting and dredging of the river bed to increase its holding capacity and to de-choke the aquifers but successive governments have failed to respond.Even the barrage project downstream of the Taj Mahal hangs in a limbo.The government agencies should immediately stop illegal mining and quarrying in the Fatehpur Sikri area and a massive afforestation campaign should be launched.”
Municipal garbage collection efforts are shoddy and inadequate.Heaps of garbage are ubiquitous.“Home to three world heritage monuments and half a dozen other attractions, the city also holds the dubious distinction of being one of the dirtiest cities in India, although work on transforming Agra into a smart city continues at a brisk pace,” said members of the River Connect Campaign team, Rahul, Pandit Jugal Kishore and Jyoti Jha.