River police squad to nab Yamuna polluters

June 23rd, 2008 - 12:05 am ICT by IANS  

Agra, June 22 (IANS) In what is believed to be a first in the country, Agra district authorities Sunday announced forming a five-member River Police Squad to keep an eye on polluters of the Yamuna. The move comes after a Supreme Court directive of a decade ago, asking the district administration to form such a squad to drive away cattle owners, who daily bring their buffaloes to the river for washing and thus polluting it.

Similarly, the apex court had asked for shifting or re-locating the washermen.

The five-member squad of the river police will keep a watch on those discharging untreated sewage and industrial effluents into the river.

Under the Yamuna Action Plan’s phase 1 and 2, the drains have been tapped and discharges diverted to the sewage treatment plants.

In practice, however, the effluents from chain industries, leather tanneries, petha-makers and dairies go directly into the river.

In the absence of a mechanism to file police complaints and proceed legally against polluters, State Pollution Control Board officials were not able to register offences.

“It should now be easier to move ahead in this direction,” a government official told IANS Sunday.

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