Untreated sewage flows into Yamuna near Taj

June 8th, 2008 - 9:28 am ICT by IANS  

By Brij Khandelwal
Agra, June 8 (IANS) Agra’s main sewer line, located close to two World Heritage monuments - the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal, - has been flowing untreated into the Yamuna river for over a fortnight now to the horror of citizens and environmentalists alike. The sewer line, which carries some 70 million litres of the city’s filth every day, lies in front of the Agra Fort and is just about a kilometre from the Taj Mahal.

For the past 15 days, for unexplained reasons, the sewer line, instead of going straight to the Dhandhupura sewage treatment plant, has been diverted to the Mantola Nullah that empties into the river.

The open sewer line has appalled tourists and citizens alike over what they describe as the utter callousness of the authorities.

Environmentalist Ravi Singh told IANS, “This main sewer line goes to the Dhandhupura sewage treatment plant, but for the past few weeks the line has been shut with cement bags and the discharge diverted to the Mantola Nullah that goes into the river.”

State Pollution Control Board regional officer A.K. Tiwari said: “We have sent a very strong letter to the state Jal Nigam, asking them to take immediate measures to remedy the situation.”

Deepankar Shaha of the Central Pollution Control Board is a worried man. He told IANS, “This is a really serious issue and the departments concerned should wake up to ensure the river is not polluted further.

Jal Nigam’s chief executive engineer Suresh Chandra said, “We are aware of the problem and getting the line fixed. The work is on and will be ready in a couple of days.”

Chandra said this was the city’s main sewer line carrying sewer waste to the treatment plant. Now the sewer was being discharged directly into the river along the Ram Lila ground.

“The city’s sewer is going directly into the river between two world heritage sites and no questions are being asked, no protests, no tears being shed, for an already sick river,” rued Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.

The issue was raised at the people’s conference on the Yamuna on the World Environment Day June 5, but no government official has so far shown any urgency to address the problem.

Agra’s divisional commissioner S.R. Meena assured IANS that he would take up the issue with the departments concerned and speed up civil work on the Mantola Nullah.

(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at brij.k@ians.in)

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