The train to Delhi is greeted with filth and stench of the ‘mighty’ Yamuna. Flowing as a dark black stretch, the river collectively symbolises squalor that lies embedded in the system. After thousands of tonnes that gets dumped into the river, it turns into raw sewage. The Central Pollution Control Board states that Yamuna’s BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) at 35 to 40 mg/l (safe level: 3 mg/l), and its coliform content makes it practically dead for all purposes. It must be noted, that the Yamuna Action Plan (started in 1993, second phase in operation), functioning in 12 towns of Haryana, 8 towns of UP and Delhi, has failed to even make a mark. That inaction, however, is not without its costs. Apart from the central assistance, the Plan is also funded up to Rs.700 crore from the Japanese Bank of International Co-operation.
For all the claims and counterclaims on Yamuna, it is perhaps the right time when the citizens of India seek accountability from the government on such profligate wastage. Clean water flowing in the rivers is undoubtedly the fundamental right of the citizens.