Chandigarh: The movement launched by hundreds of priests, sadhus from Braj Mandal to save river Yamuna from pollution is gaining momentum. The priests observing fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar has mounted pressure on three state governments– Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, along with the Centre.

The protesters have been demanding Yamuna to be given the status of a river with national importance apart from constituting a committee under their supervision.

Majority of the people including farmers, involved with ‘save Yamuna campaign’ hail from the Ganga-Yamuna belt in Uttar Pradesh. The protesters are also demanding continuous release of water from Hathnikund Barage besides voicing for a separate channel for sewerage discharge.

However, Haryana contends that discharge of water from the barrage was never stopped nor it was possible to plug the water flow.

The rising pollution levels in Yamuna have been a concern for long. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had recently summoned the chief ministers of Haryana and Delhi over the issue. However, the two states were offended for not fixing responsibility of Uttar Pradesh in that regard.

“During the analysis, the water discharged from Haryana is found to be clear always. In this regard, Haryana alone cannot be held responsible for the plight of the river,” lamented A K Chahel, President of the Haryana Pollution Control Board.

Notably, ‘clean Yamuna drive’ was launched 18 years back. Besides formulating two action plans for cleaning of the Yamuna, governments have spent a whopping amount of Rs 850 crore on it.  However, despite all efforts what remains of it is a sluggish flow, laden with plastic, solid waste, untreated sewer and corpses.

The Yamuna originates from the Yamunotri glacier of Uttarakhand and traverses through Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi for a distance of 1370 kms. Barring Uttarakhand, 57 percent of the total sewage waste, industrial discharge and waste water discharged by the remaining states is dumped into the Yamuna.

Despite so much damage done to the river, the three states are involved in blame game for the plight of the Yamuna.

Delhi alone contributes for 37 percent of the total waste into the river despite its stretch being only 22 Kms in the national capital. At least 16 drains of the national capital are directly discharging 3296 million litre of sewage into the Yamuna.