Activists take ‘sand bath’ to protest Yamuna water crisis

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Agra, May 30 (IANS) River activists here on Monday organised “sand bath” to draw attention towards lack of water in the Yamuna river and green insect threat to the Taj Mahal.

Scores of activists associated with the River Connect Campaign, resorted to “sand throwing and mud bath” at the Etmauddaula viewpoint park.

“When there is no water in the river, we can only take sand bath,” said activist Shailendra Singh Narvaar.

Huge mounds of sands were prepared and as a crowd surged ahead, the activists began pouring dust on one another.

“Soon the whole area was enveloped under a cloud of fine dust and sand,” said activist Ranjan Sharma.

Explaining the purpose of this “strange protest”, some activists said it was a huge joke on the state and central governments for failing to respond to serious threats to the Taj Mahal.

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Activist Shravan Kumar Singh of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society said: “We have been demanding a barrage downstream of the Taj Mahal for over three decades. So far, nothing has been done. We demanded release of a minimal flow in the Yamuna to sustain aqua life, again no response.”

“We demanded release of water before the holy festival of Ganga Dussehra on June 6, the administration has again disappointed us. With no other alternative in sight, we had to organise today’s ‘ret snaan’,” Singh added.

For weeks, there have been many reports about the green insect threat to the Taj Mahal.

The National Green Tribunal too has asked for a detailed report on the threat.

“The green insect, obviously new to this area, has been proliferating in the polluted Yamuna water which has become a huge breeding ground. The insects somehow get attracted to the white marble and stick around leaving the green poop on the surface,” said environmentalist Devashish Bhattacharya.

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The administration is expected to provide an explanation over the issue on Tuesday.



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