Save Sri Krishna’s Braj Bhoomi From “Development Sharks”
August: Developmental activities, governmental and private are
threatening the tranquility and wild beauty of Sri Krishna-land spread
over around 200 kms. centering Mathura. Like the numerous holy ponds
associated with Sri Krishna legend, the dozen dense forests of Braj
disappeared long ago, and now it is the turn of the Yamuna ghats in
buildings have come up in Mathura, Vrindavan, Goverdhan. Almost all great
and popular saints of India are now opening their Ashrams and guest
houses. Land is scarce. Farms and gardens are being sold to raise concrete
structures. Vrindavan's skyline is fast changing, says Acharya Jaimini, a
A new bridge coming
over Yamuna in Vrindavan has come in for sharp criticism from
environmentalists who see it a threat to the only remaining ghat in
are concerned the new bridge will pose a danger to the Kesri Ghat, and
obscure the magnificent panoramic view of the river and also affect the
flow of the river.
"Keshi Ghat, which
happens to be the last Ghat of Vrindavan from where river Yamuna flows
through, is being endangered," says Sri Vatsa Goswami of Friends of
Development Authoritys plan to link the dis-connected portions of
Vrindavan Parikrama Marg by constructing a bridge across River Yamuna
would seriously affect the flow of water in Yamuna along the banks in
Vrindavan, feel the local residents.
The livelihood of
hundreds of boatsmen is also endangered as the free flow of boats across
the Yamuna would get hindered. Keshi Ghat remains the only boating spot in
Vrindavan. This architectural wonder was constructed by the Rani Laxmi of
Swami Sewak Sharan,
an environmentalist and Sri Krishna bhakt says "they are destroying nature
and culture. Ordinary folks in Vrindavan have no voice while the so called
"developmentalists" are out to murder a rich heritage."
activists and religious leaders have now raised a protest against the
construction of the bridge. The holy town of Vrindavan is in the clutches
of land developers and real estate giants who are on a building spree.
"Mayawati will have a bad time if she plays with Yamuna. She should not
forget what happened after the Taj Corridor project on Yamuna in Agra,"
warns a local media person.
A foreign bhakt has
already purchased a huge heritage property. The construction of this
bridge is not going to help the bulk of pilgrims as they tread on foot on
the Parikrama Marg. This bridge would increase the quantum of traffic
plying down the Parikrama Marg and would cause major obstruction to the
The only ghat in
Vrindavan through which the river Yamuna flows through is also being
deprived of its heritage value by constructing a bridge across the ghat.
This bridge is supposed to link up the two part of the Parikrama marg. The
entire photographic and scenic value of this heritage structure remains
threatened after the construction of this bridge. Due to the construction
of this massive concrete structure there is also a great threat that the
river would drift away from the lone heritage ghat of Vrindavan.
Since there is no
urban art or landscape body to study developmental projects, the
government agencies feel what they have planned is "for the good of all."
The development of Parikrama Marg is stalled for the moment due to want of
clearance for laying the sewer pipes beneath. The Parikrama marg design is
completely out of sync of pilgrim convenience. The pedestrian zone has
been confined to a single walking track which is grossly insufficient for
the bulk of pilgrims who undergo Parikrama of this sacred township
Development Authority vice chairman RK Singh categorically denies all the
charges which according to him have been raised by people who do not
understand development or environment. "They are obstructionists. We have
got proper studies done. The Keshri Ghat was any way crumbling. The bridge
is a little distance away from the ghat. Pointless controversies are being
raised by environmentalists," Singh added.
PWD chief engineer
CD Rai said "vested land owning interests were protesting, many calling
themselves environmentalists. The bridge on the river does not affect
environment in any manner, nor does it obstruct the flow of the river. We
will later take renovation work of the Kesri Ghat."
The ugliest eyesore
in the whole Braj area is the sorry spectacle of a dying river Yamuna,
dry, polluted and encroached upon. Ramesh Baba, 76 year old renowned
activist working for eco-conservation of Braj Mandal, has appealed to
pilgrims and devout in Vrindavan to save a dying river which was "again in
the grip of Kali Naag in the form of industrial effluents and sewer waste
flowing down from Delhi and Haryana. We are living and the river is
patriarch of Barsana gaon, (Birth place of Sri Krishna's beloved Radha)
has been fighting for 40 years to save the holy hills of Braj from land
and stone mafia, the stone crushers. "We have had to fight at the local
level, the High Court and the Supreme Court, and only now have we got some
relief in the form of a ban on mining in the Braj hills. But unless the
faith-fuls, the Sri Krishna bhakts and nature lovers united and got
involved in massive tree plantation, renovation of holy ponds and a
thorough cleansing of the river Yamuna, the dangers will not diminish,"
Ramesh Baba said.
Each year millions
of Sri Krishna bhakts from all parts of the world visit the Braj Bhoomi,
but neither the hundreds of Katha Vachaks from Vrindavan, nor the "bhakt
jans" bother to spare a thought for saving the ecology of the area which
once had 12 dense forests and numerous ghats along the river whose water
the founder of the Mughal dynasty described as better than nectar, says
Vrindavan's Acharya Jaimini Tringunaneet.