|The Supreme Court today allowed the Delhi government to adopt the action plan to clean river Yamuna, in line with the steps taken by the British government to clean river Thames.
The Court approved the action plan for constructing sewage treatment plants at all points where major drains meet the river Yamuna, so that no untreated sewage gets discharged into the river.
The Yamuna, considered one of the holiest rivers in India, has today become one of the most polluted as well, and its water declared unfit for drinking.
A Bench comprising Justice Y K Sabharwal and Justice B N Agrawal also wondered whether authorities were waiting for Mumbai-like disaster to happen to get out of their state of inertia.
They were also severe in their criticism of the manner in which the government, irrespective of whichever political party in power, has done little to stop encroachment on the banks of river Yamuna leading to its pollution.
Even in small cities like Mathura, devotees have been ritually pouring milk into the holy river for centuries, believing it can heal their illnesses and cleanse their sins.
But it's not just milk. People also throw sweets and sindoor, wrapped in plastic bags, all of which makes the river highly polluted.
Recent checks on water samples from the river reveals clearly that the water is highly polluted.
Legend has it that once a deadly snake had inhabited the river and made it unfit for drinking. It was only after Lord Krishna took the snake out that the water was rendered safe for drinking.
But the river water has once again been declared unsafe for drinking, and this time due to excessive effluents being let into it.
Pilgrims aren't the main culprits for the slow death of the Yamuna. Small industries lining the river, regularly dump toxic waste into the water.
"The industries dump cyanide into the river which is making people sick," said Purohit Kanta Nath Chaturvedi, pilgrim in charge.
"Many industries around the Yamuna are letting effluents into it. Due to the high cyanide content in the water people fall ill," he added.
But the government chooses to turn a blind eye on these violations. Officials say that it isn't the industry but largely the domestic sewage that is polluting the water.
"In my opinion, waste from homes, mostly urban waste is responsible for polluting the river. The industries get their waste treated," said Kuldeep Mishra, Incharge, Pollution Control Board.
While the government, devotees and industry all put the blame on one another, the river continues to choke every day. If the holy river is to be revived, then it's action and not just words that are needed most.