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For a change, Yamuna flows cleaner and full
After a long while, river Yamuna is flowing full and cleaner at this time of the year.
"When US president Donald Trump visited Agra on February 24, water was released by upstream barrages, but it did not reach Agra. Trump, however, did not go to the rear side of the Taj Mahal, otherwise the polluted and dry Yamuna would have disturbed him. But for the last 25 days or so, we are enjoying a rare view of Yamuna at the Etmauddaula View Point park. The river bed is under water and birds have returned," said River Connect Campaign member Jugal Kishore Shrotriya who conducts a daily arti of Yamuna to mobilise locals to keep the river clean.
River activist Devashish Bhattacharya said, "Perhaps due to the lockdown due to COVID-19, industries in Haryana and Delhi are not drawing water from the river. We have had several spells of rain in March, which could have raised the water level."
Water level in Vrindavan and Mathura had also seen a steady rise in the past few weeks.
In Agra, surplus water from the Ganga Jal Pipeline was also being released in the Yamuna. The two water works in Agra receive 140 cusec of water continuously from the 130 km long pipeline. The entire quantity is not used. The excess goes into the Yamuna, according to a local corporator Anurag Chaubey.
The river behind the Taj Mahal, along Mahtaab Bagh has come alive, offering a breathtaking view. Due to the lockdown, the Taj Mahal, for the first time in its history, is relaxed and breathing freely, deprived of the daily human load, as all monuments have been shut down in Agra for visitors. The Archaeological Survey of India is utilising the opportunity to clean up and carry out repairs long overdue.
The city too is largely pollution free, due to restrictions on movement of vehicles. Only an occasional ambulance or a police vehicle can be seen on the Fatehabad road, which has the largest concentration of hotels.