Vrindavan/Agra: With the official announcement that an additional 250 cusecs of water would be released into the Yamuna through a new canal from Hathini Kund in Haryana, the 'save Yamuna' marchers had a reason to celebrate on Thursday.

Environmentalists in Agra, though, were a little concerned as reports said that sewage and waste of Delhi would be diverted to the Agra canal through a new parallel drain to be constructed by the Delhi government in two years. This was part of the agreement signed by Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat and leaders of the 'padyatra'.

"It would be almost suicidal if sewage were to be pumped into the existing Agra canal, which supplies water to the Keitham Lake and to the two ponds in Agra's circuit house, as also water for the gardens of the Taj Mahal," DK Joshi, Supreme Court monitoring committee member on pollution, said.

Environmentalist Ravi Singh said: "They should ensure that treated water from the drains in Delhi is consumed locally, instead of transferring the problem to Agra. The British-built Agra Canal supports a highly sensitive eco-zone and already its water is highly contaminated. Any further load would only have devastating effects."

At midnight, an agreement was signed by the leaders of the marchers and Union Ministers Harish Rawat and Jayanthi Natarajan. According to the terms of the agreement, an additonal 225 to 250 cusec water would be released from Hathinikund for the Braj Mandal area, upstream from Vrindavan, through a canal.

New parallel drains would be built on both sides of the Yamuna in Delhi for diversion of waste and sewage, presently being openly released into the river. With this agreement, the tension that had been building in the past fortnight over the issue has been defused, but it remains unclear when the agreement will take effect.

(Agencies)

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