As the ancient ghats of holy town of Vrindavan face threat of losing touch with river Yamuna due to Uttar Pradesh government constructing a road on the floodplain, the National Green Tribunal has ordered verification of the allegation made by an environmental activist.
The Tribunal took note of application filed by Akash Vashishtha that the Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department was constructing a road illegally on the river bed of Yamuna in Vrindavan, Mathura between Shringarvat and Keshi Ghat.
"Let the veracity of the allegations be verified by a joint Committee UP State PCB, UP Irrigation Department and District Magistrate, Mathura. The joint Committee may look into the matter and furnish a factual and action taken report within one month by e-mail at [email protected]. The nodal agency will be State PCB will be the nodal agency for compliance and coordination," said a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice A K Goel.
Vashishtha said the construction of road is taking place by illegally filling steps of over 500-year-old archaeologically important ghats with construction debris.
He said the work on the road was highlighted in a factual report prepared by Prof C R Babu. When he learnt about the report, Vashishtha himself visited the site and found that the agencies were filling the steps of the ancient Ghats, including Cheer Ghat, Govind Ghat and Bhramar Ghat, with construction rubble and debris to build an approach road to transport the construction rubble and debris, in order to reclaim land for the construction of the illegal metalled road.
A temporary storage room has also been constructed near Cheer Ghat for storing construction material besides other multi-storeyed buildings which have come up on the active floodplains.
He says the PWD has cleared the vegetation from the floodplain which has destroyed the flaura and fauna including a large number of birds supported by the vegetation on the floodplains.
Dumping in the riverbed has damaged the fragile riverine ecosystem supported by Yamuna main channel.
The petition says the illegal road is obstructing the main channel of river to flow up to the ancient ghats which were originally designed to allow river water to flow along them.
The construction of metalled road is a violation of River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order 2016 and the NGT's orders passed in year 2013 and 2015 prohibiting any construction activity in the river bed and in the floodplains of Yamuna.
The Tribunal had in 2015 also announced that any one found violating its orders would be liable to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 under the Polluter Pays principle and the Precautionary Principle.