Lucknow 27th March: After spending two days at his religious headquarters in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi on Monday made a surprised but planned visit to the Gomti riverfront. He inspected the Gomti riverfront and gave tough lessons to the bureaucrats on a sunny afternoon at Lucknow.
The Chief Minister visited the riverfront at around 11 am and started evaluating the process of work being done for the Gomti river front which once happened to be one of the ambitious projects of Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government.
Yogi was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, Brijesh Pathak, state Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Suresh Khanna, Upendra Tiwari and several senior state ministers along with Swati Singh at the site. Engineers and officers who have been connected to the project were also present at the riverfront along with the entire section of senior bureaucrats of the state who escorted the CM to the site.
Yogi summoned all the officers related to the project on the progress of work on the riverfront and sought details from engineers and officers who have been connected to the project.
WFN managed to get some foot notes of some of the questions asked by Yogi –
1- Gomti ka paani kyun ganda hai ? Kya saare paise pattharon me laga diye?
1- Why is the water of Gomti so dirty? Did you spend all the money over stones?
2- Project ki lagat itni kyu huyee ? Project cost jyada hai , ise sanshodhit karein
2- Why are the expenses of the project so high? The cost of project is high, regularise and change it .
3- May tak Gomti ka pani saaf ho jana chahiye, ek saal ke bheetar poora karein project.
3- I want the water of Gomti to be cleaned by the month of May. Complete this project in one year.
4- chah kilometer nadee ko teen meetr gahrayee me gahra kiya gaya hai , lekin kagaj par, itni mitti niklee to fenki kahan gayee ? gomti ko kitna gahra kiya gaya ?
4- Six kilometers of river had been dug to 3 meters. But that is only on paper, if you had taken out that much mud then where had you disposed it? How much deep have you made Gomti now?
The question answer session was not over and Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi also took a jibe of the officers. Irrigation Minister Dharampal Singh also slammed the officers and said that the time line shall be maintained in any case. The first task has been set to clean Gomti and to dig it deep for easy passage of water.
The Gomti riverfront-
This was a dream project of the former Chief Minister Akhilesh yadav who inaugurated it in November last year. This project initially cost 1500 crores where a diaphragm wall has been made on both banks of the Gomti River to channel its water flow. The land between the waterway and the embankment has been developed for public use, with cycling tracks, jogging and walking areas, and play area for children.
The riverfront also consists of public conveniences like toilets and potable water taps and parking facilities at every 500 meters. Along with that a lake has been developed along with the installation of a musical fountain, with an area reserved for doing yoga, a ground for weddings, and an amphitheater with a seating capacity of 2,000.
Under the same project, the iconic Hardinge Bridge, Gomti barrage, and Lohiya Bridge have been illuminated with RGB lights, besides coloured lights have been installed at the Gandhi Bridge.
The Politics of rivers-
This project was however a political move which was meant to counter Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean Ganga’ campaign. In 2015, the former Chief Minister of UP, Akhilesh Yadav, made a promise to clean and rejuvenate the river Gomti, touted as the backbone of Lucknow and inaugurated the project rightly so in November 2016, just before the Assembly elections of 2017. He also started a similar project in PM’s constituency of Varanasi at the banks of river Varuna which was named as Varuna Corridor.
However the Gomti riverfront was more likely a hurried attempt by the government with the newly made concrete ghats with decorative fences, installations and fancy lights. In February this year when Akhilesh Yadav was trying to use its publicity as a political tool, he was countered by Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti who alleged corruption in this project and claimed that if BJP came to power in the state then an inquiry would be ordered to investigate corruption in this project.
State of the River-
Gomti, is one of Ganga’s tributaries and was known as one of the “purest” rivers of India. It had offered sustainability to the people of Lucknow since past centuries. But over the years, this river has been gradually destroyed by pollution and its entire riverbed and ecology has been damaged by the industrial waste. The river has lost two thirds of is real water and the remaining water is carrier of various diseases.
Gomti has gulped hundreds of thousands of MLD of sewage through various drains of Lucknow which had been pouring untreated sewage directly into it. Along with that the industries alongside the river had dumped industrial effluents directly in the river. Now the pollutants had raised the level to a disastrous state and according to the UPPCB (UP Pollution Control Board) the quantity of domestic sewage and industrial waste produced in Lucknow is about 325 million liters per day (MLD).
As per the CPCB Central Pollution Control Board, the Lucknow-Jaunpur stretch of Gomti happens to be the most polluted river stretch in the country. The UPPCB had already rendered that the waters in Gomti is unfit for consumption. The river’s dissolved oxygen level is also dangerously low, and it even dips too low at some points, which has resulted to several incidents the mass killings of fishes.
Previous governments have failed to initialize any attempts to clean Gomti and BJP looks keen to dwell all the documents of those years. Insiders in the present government claimed that some officials might be charged with serious offences while some would have to seek departmental transfers for irregularities.