Chatth devotees across the National capital found themselves amidst thick clouds of toxic foams while conducting the rituals of the ‘Mahaparv’ in the holy Yamuna. The images were grim, to an extent dystopic, and proved that the Yamuna under Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has gone from bad to worse.
Ever since Kejriwal regained power in 2015, he has made tall claims about how he would change the face of the polluted Yamuna River. A video has been going viral on the realms of social media platforms that shows Kejriwal mouthing the same lie for the better part of the last six years. He asked for 5 years to clean the Yamuna in 2015. Fast forward, 2021, he is still demanding 5 more years to clean the river.
— Rosy (@rose_k01) November 10, 2021
Where is the Rs 2,000 crore spent on the Yamuna?
Amit Malviya, in charge of BJP’s national information and technology department, on Wednesday, tweeted a copy of a letter dated July 1, 2021, from Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal that talked about Centre granting over Rs 2,000 crore to the Delhi government for cleaning of Yamuna.
Malviya said in his tweet, “The central government has provided Arvind Kejriwal 2,419 crore rupees so far for cleaning the Yamuna. Let alone clean, Yamuna is dirtier than ever before. Where did all the money go? Has Arvind Kejriwal spent all the money in putting out more ads just to promote himself? Shame”
The central government has provided Arvind Kejriwal 2,419 crore rupees so far for cleaning Yamuna. Let alone clean, Yamuna is dirtier than ever before.
Where did all the money go? Has Arvind Kejriwal spent all the money in putting out more ads just to promote himself? Shame. pic.twitter.com/ItwCmPxQ68
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 10, 2021
Malviya had also remarked that the AAP government in the last 7 years had spent Rs 940 crores on pollution ads alone, “Arvind Kejriwal has spent 940 crores on pollution ads in the last 7 years but has done nothing else to tackle the problem. Delhi is choking but no question is being asked of him because he has bought the media’s silence through big media spending. Instead, crackers are being blamed.”
Arvind Kejriwal has spent 940 crore on pollution ads in the last 7 years but has done nothing else to tackle the problem. Delhi is choking but no question is being asked of him because he has bought media’s silence through big media spend. Instead crackers are being blamed. pic.twitter.com/SfiJMZkDQ8
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 7, 2021
The good-cop, bad-cop routine from AAP
After Malviya’s onslaught, AAP resorted to what it does best, deflecting the problem to someone else. AAP leader Raghav Chadha remarked that it was Uttar Pradesh and the Haryana government’s fault that the Yamuna was toxic.
He said, “The foam in the Yamuna is at Okhla Barrage area, which comes under UP irrigation govt, it’s UP govt’s responsibility. But like every year, they failed this year too. The polluted water is not Delhi’s, it’s a ‘gift’ to Delhi by UP, Haryana govt”
The foam in the Yamuna is at Okhla Barrage area, which comes under UP irrigation govt, it's UP govt's responsibility. But like every year, they failed this year too…The polluted water is not Delhi's, it's a 'gift' to Delhi by UP, Haryana govt: AAP's Raghav Chadha
on toxic foam pic.twitter.com/vAAoqKn58R
— ANI (@ANI) November 9, 2021
However, playing the good-cop, bad-cop routine to perfection, Kejriwal during Times Now summit remarked that he wasn’t here to blame anyone for the pollution in the Yamuna.
He stated, “The problem has been created over 70 years. It cannot be solved in a few days. I will not pass the buck to other states. It is my responsibility to clean the Yamuna and I will do it.”
Kejriwal and his earth-shattering ideas to combat the toxic foam
Reportedly, after images of Chhath devotees stranded in the toxic water with toxic foam around went viral, Kejriwal government-appointed men with hose pipes to clean the river. The only plausible explanation of the stupidity can be attributed to Kejriwal wanting the swimming foams to settle down so that he could quick-fix the problem and avoid bad press.
— ANI (@ANI) November 10, 2021
Furthermore, the Delhi government deployed 15 boats to remove the toxic foam with the help of ropes while barricades were also put up to supposedly stop the ‘foam’ from floating into the area where devotees were praying.
— ANI (@ANI) November 10, 2021
Paradoxically, the Delhi government through its civil defense volunteers, at some places, bullied and refused the Chatth devotees from performing the holy arghya’s at the ghats.
Delhi govt has been promising a clean Yamuna for 6 years now. For its own failure, poor folks are being treated as criminals. I don't want them or anyone to step into the nallah that Yamuna has become today, but is this how you treat devotees on day of their most imp festival? https://t.co/z2gRffee5y
— Swati Goel Sharma (@swati_gs) November 10, 2021
AAP government’s inability to treat the sewage water
The pollution of the river Yamuna can be ascertained by the fact that a report of Central Pollution Central Board as published in 2016 revealed the negligible presence of dissolved oxygen (which is necessary for aquatic animals). A normal level of DO [dissolved oxygen] is considered to be 10.8, whereas the actual DO as accessed from Wazirabad and Okhla was just 1.1.
To increase the DO levels, it is no rocket science that sewage water flowing into the river needs to be treated. However, the AAP government has spectacularly bombed on that front as well.
Reportedly, Delhi Pollution Control Committee in its report prepared a month back remarked that Delhi produces 720 MGD (million gallons per day) of sewage water daily. The AAP government claims that through its 34 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), it has a collective capacity of treating 577 MGD waste daily.
However, the report argues that of the 577 MGD, only 511 MGD is treated by the AAP government. Thus, cumulatively, 206 MGD of waste out of a total of 720 MGD of waste falls flush into the holy river, making it filthier by the day.
Akin to its party leader’s ability to boast falsely, the Delhi government had told the monitoring committee that its STPs would be able to treat 99 per cent of waste by June 2019, but more than two years have passed and nothing has been achieved on the ground.
The Yamuna is in dire straits but if Sabarmati in Gujarat can be brought to its old glory, the ghats on the Ganges cleaned in a spick and span manner- what is stopping the Kejriwal government from doing the same. Instead of fooling the public through empty rhetoric, Kejriwal and his coterie of IIT ministers should put their heads down and get down to actual work.