Yamuna nears danger mark in Agra

August 28th, 2010 - 12:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Agra, Aug 28 (IANS) The Yamuna river was close to touching the danger mark in this Taj Mahal city while floodwaters entered more villages in Agra and Mathura districts Saturday, officials said.
In Agra, the water level in the river rose to 494.5 feet Saturday, nearing the danger mark of 495 feet. The level stood at 494 feet Friday.

Water was also discharged from the Tajewala, Okhla and Gokul barrages, triggering fears of a flood.

The last flood in Agra was recorded in 1978, though in 1995 the Yamuna had crossed the danger mark.

“Human tragedy apart, a flood will help clean up the river, dredge the silt, and dilute the pollutants. Its effect on the controversial Taj Heritage Corridor will also be a subject of discussion,” Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society president Surendra Sharma told IANS.

“So many people have encroached upon the river bed, ignoring court directives and safety norms, right from Delhi to Agra. If the water level goes up by a couple of feet more, they will all have plenty of time to repent playing with nature,” he remarked.

District authorities alerted Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) soldiers and sent teams of officials to villages to persuade people to move out to safer areas.

All the sluice gates of the Gokul Barrage in Mathura have been opened as the pressure continues to increase.

In Mathura, the Yamuna was already flowing 46 cm above the danger mark with some low-lying areas inundated. Many colonies along the banks of the river in Vrindavan are also flooded.

Official reports said there has been extensive damage to standing bajra crops in Fatehabad, Etmadpur and Kiraoli tehsils of Agra. In Bah, the 101 Shiva temples in a row along the Yamuna, are threatened.

In Agra city, the main Mantola, Bhairon, Chatta, Balkeshwar and half a dozen other smaller drains are choked. Health officials said their water was now beginning to flow back into the city which could prove a major health problem.

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