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Ban on farming along Yamuna to continue

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The National Green Tribunal has refused to entertain a farmers' body plea seeking modification of its earlier order prohibiting cultivation of edible crops and vegetables on the floodplains of Yamuna here.

The green panel said that Yamuna's water was "highly" polluted as it contained "acidic, heavy metals and other high pollutants" which were very injurious to human health and it cannot be treated as source of irrigation for agricultural purposes.

"If it (cultivation) is permitted, it will become part of food chain which will reach human beings causing various diseases. Yamuna carries not only quantity of sewage but also that of industrial waste. There are electro-plating industries, textile dying industries and other polluting industry located in the various of parts of Delhi.

"We have already permitted cultural activity and no other activities can be permitted in that area till the time the river Yamuna is restored and made pollution free and such tolerable limits which will prevent environmental and human hazards," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.

The tribunal, in January last year, had prohibited farming on Yamuna banks saying, "it is an established fact that presently, vegetables, fodder grown and allied projects at the flood plain of river Yamuna are highly contaminated. Besides containing ingredients of high pollutants, such produce is even found to contain metallic pollutants."

The direction came during the hearing of a plea by Delhi Peasants Multipurpose Society and others who had moved the tribunal last year with a prayer that they be permitted to carry on agricultural and farming activities on Yamuna banks.

The farmers' body had contended that they do not use polluted water from Yamuna for cultivation of crops and instead use fresh water extracted out of borewells for irrigation purposes.

It had also averred that there was no specific report submitted before the Tribunal that any particular pollutant was found in the samples collected from crops cultivated by the members of the society.

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First Published: Tue, June 07 2016. 19:14 IST