N C R   S T O R I E S


Schoolkids to trace the Yamuna’s journey from
purity to profanity
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 30
Discovering the Yamuna from ‘beginning an end’ is a study about a river which is owing to human neglect and abuse ‘beginning to end’. Starting May 23, the effort that aims to save the Yamuna from further devastation and degradation is being undertaken by ‘We for Yamuna’, an initiative of Swechha-We for Change Foundation and Development Alliance Private Limited.

“The programme is a yatra which we are undertaking along with the children of Shriram School. We are going to trace the journey of the river from where it begins and along the way we will study its journey from purity to profanity”, says Vimlendu Jha of We for Yamuna.

The desire to work for the Yamuna and with the youth led Jha to start the organisation in 2000 after he finished college. And ever since with his troupe of volunteers Jha has been relying on street plays and awareness campaigns to get “people to identify themselves with the Yamuna”.

“As much as 70 per cent of the people in Delhi get drinking water from the Yamuna and 70 per cent of our body is water. Which means 70 per cent of us is Yamuna. It is this connection that we are trying to make between people and the Yamuna”, says Jha.

Concerned about the state of neglect of the Yamuna, which is “ on its deathbed today, primarily because of pollution emanating from industrial waste and the callousness of the human populace”, Jha has roped in school and college children to do their bit for the river, “which has a historical and sociological significance”.

An alumnus of St Stephens, Jha’s homework on the river has been meticulously done. He offers, “Over 3,000 million litres of wastewater flows into the Yamuna and only five per cent of this is treated. Sewage too flows in untreated”.

With no money in his pocket, Jha maintains that “money is not the consideration”. He says, “We have over the last four years spent about Rs. 80,000 where as others who have undertaken projects to clean the Yamuna have spent crores”.

For him it is “creating awareness”, which is of paramount importance. “We have to understand where we are going. Attitudes need to change. Through this yatra we want trace the degradation of the river by the modern temples, the industries, the traditional temples and the people. And it is incorrect to say that people who live on the banks of the river are polluting it. We, we who live kilometres away from it, are polluting it as much”.

We for Yamuna has been reaching out to people through shramdaans, clearing debris and pollutants. The NGO has also been conducting environment workshops in schools and colleges. “We do not want environment education to be limited to just plain text books”, says Jha.

Explaining the course of the 14-day yatra, which begins in Yamnotri, Jha says it will travel to places sacred to different religions, thereby aiming to tell the story of a river, which “connects so many religions, so many societies and so many cultures”.

The yatra will travel to Paonta Sahib, revered by the Sikhs, Vrindavan, and Mathura, places of reverence for Hindus and also Buddhists, and finally to Agra.

Apart from schools students the yatra will also include film makers, environmentalists and development professionals. “On the yatra they will be determining the content and filming of the events and experiences with guidance and help from highly experienced filmmakers. The resulting programme will be a documentary on the Yamuna, based on the group’s experience and the perceived understanding of the river. The students will be educationally guided by environmentalists supported by a team of experienced professionals of various disciplines, drawing and painting, film and animation techniques, stills photography, social science, ecology and environment and residents at the locations to be visited”, adds Jha.


Two terrorists get 5-yr RI
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 30
A Delhi court today sentenced two terrorists, including a Pakistani national, to five years rigorous imprisonment for possessing explosives.

The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr R. K. Jain, ordered deportation of Saifullah, alias Saif Bhai (31), who hails from Gujranwala in Pakistan after completion of the sentence. The court also slapped Rs 3,000 fine on him.

A fine of Rs 1,000 was slapped on 37-year-old Munir Ahmed alias Manzoor, who hails from Habba Kadal area of Srinagar.

The duo was nabbed at New Delhi Railway Station on June 19, 2000, by the Delhi Police after a tip-off that Chief Commander of Al Badr outfit would arrive there with the explosives.

The police had recovered two packets containing 4 kgs of RDX from their possession. They were booked for sedition under Section 121 of IPC, conspiracy under Section 120 of IPC and Explosives Substances Act. The Foreigners Act was also slapped on Saifullah.

Altogether 11 witnesses were examined in the case and the two were convicted under Explosives Substances Act for possession of explosives causing reasonable suspicion that it would endanger lives and property in the country.

The court, however, did not find substantial evidence to convict them for sedition.


Forum rules against demand to refund processing fee

New Delhi, April 30
A Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum has ruled in favour of a finance company in a case where a complainant wanted the company to refund its administrative fee. The Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum stated that the fee was taken with the prior knowledge of the complainant.

The complainants Ashok Mudgil and Pummy Mudgil, residents of Vasant Vihar, had applied for a home loan of Rs 25 lakh with the Tata Home Finance Ltd.

The representatives of the Tata Home Finance Ltd. convinced the applicants to take a loan of Rs 21 lakh and told them that they would have to pay Rs 42,000 as administrative fee at the rate of two per cent of the total financed amount.

However, the finance company, instead of sanctioning the required loan amount, sanctioned only Rs 13.30 lakh. TNS

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