New Delhi : After crying hoarse about the environmental threats that constructions along the Yamuna floodplains pose, environmentalists and other concerned citizens of Delhi are planning to launch a mass 'Jal Satyagraha' movement to save the river.
"We plan to launch the Jal Satyagraha in August when our country celebrates 60 years of independence. This is a cause to save the lifeline of Delhi," said Manoj Misra of the 'Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan' (Save Yamuna Movement), who has been spearheading various meets in this context for the past several months.
At a meeting of environmentalists, civil society workers and concerned citizens Monday at the Gandhi Peace Foundation here, the group said it would send an appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before Independence Day (Aug 15).
"There are four main points which will be highlighted in the appeal to the prime minister – first is to change the site of the Commonwealth Games 2010 Village; second is there should be no activity on the river bed till the concerned zonal plan (Zone 0 for Yamuna) is in place.
"Third, there should be an independent expert committee to review all structures on the river bed, and fourth, there should be a national policy on rivers," said Misra.
The green activist said there should be an expert committee to look at the issue of saving the Yamuna, just like there was an independent expert committee to look at the issue of disappearing tigers.
The group has suggested that the Commonwealth Village site could be shifted to Dwarka in southwest Delhi. This, they said, would be close to the airport and also be well connected because of the Delhi Metro.
Misra also reiterated the group's earlier points – that the floodplains of the river Yamuna lie on an earthquake fault line (zone 4). Hence any construction there will be vulnerable to natural calamities, and the floodplains are a big water reservoir and very important for ground water recharge.
The group is also unhappy with Delhi Tourism's latest initiative, the Signature Bridge in Wazirabad, northwest Delhi. "Instead of spending so much on the Signature Bridge, the government should first look at cleaning the river. How are tourists supposed to cross the bridge with the stink floating around?" Rajiv Kaul, one of the supporters of the campaign, said.
The group is working out details of their proposed Jal Satyagraha. "The idea is to mobilise the masses for the cause. It is an issue which affects everyone," said another supporter.