Lakhs of people in Agra are, for the first time in many decades, enjoying the luxury of clean, sparkling Ganges water.
The polluted Yamuna water, largely industrial effluents, sewer and waste water, from upstream cities, was being supplied to the city for the past 40 years.
"The quantity and quality, both were poor. Many fell sick consuming this deadly water. Every year, thousands of fish were dying," said environmentalist Shravan Kumar Singh.
The Rs 3,000 crore 135 kilometre long pipeline project from Palra in Bulandshahar district, brings 150 cusecs of water from the Ganges. Of this, 10 cusecs are diverted to Mathura. The rest joins the Yamuna at the Sikandra Water Works.
"We now have a new sangam (confluence) of Yamuna and Ganges in Agra. No need to go to Prayagraj," Pandit Nandan Shrotriya of River Connect Campaign said. A small branch of the pipeline brings Ganga Jal to the centuries old Kailash Mandir where pilgrims can offer it to Lord Shiva, he added.
The pipeline that brings water from the Ganges to the city water works at Jeoni Mandi was commissioned a few days back. "People are happy to see the quality of the water and are consuming it directly. It is indeed a dream come true," said home maker Padmini.
The Mayawati-led government in May 2008 had sanctioned the original project. The local BJP MLA Yogendra Upadhyaya who vigorously pursued and gave momentum to the whole project which will bring relief to the whole city this summer.
Purushottam Khandelwal, BJP legislator from Agra North, said "This project will not only help reduce dependence on Yamuna water, but also ensure supply of safe drinking water to the city. The extra water in the river Yamuna will dilute pollutants and improve the environment."
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