Green cover falling in Krishna land
As lakhs of pilgrims throng Lord Krishna temples in Mathura and Vrindavan on Janmashtami, many are lamenting the dwindling green cover in the region.
The Braj Mandal, spread over roughly 150 km and stretching from Bateshwar to Kosi and from Bharatpur to Aligarh, is facing both rapid construction activity and illegal mining along the Rajasthan border.
The forests of the region have nearly disappeared, making way for concrete structures, activists say.
"Lord Krishna was a protector of hills, ponds, rivers, forests and animal life. Look what is happening now in Mathura, Vrindavan and Goverdhan," moaned Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of Friends of Vrindavan society.
The musical wealth of the Braj is also under stress.
Music maestro Acharya T.N. Jaimini said: "Haveli sangeet parampara of the Sri Krishna temples is gone. It has been replaced with loud filmi culture."
The water bodies of Braj, also known as kunds or sarovars, have been a perennial source of fresh water. But rapid urbanisation, poor maintenance and prolonged negligence have pushed most water bodies to extinction.
Increasing human settlements is threatening the sensitive ecology of the area.
Large-scale mining is a matter of concern.
Social activist Rajan Kishore said large-scale mining was going on along the Rajasthan border, right from Fatehpur Sikri to Nandgaon, Barsana and Kamavan.
A few years ago, the Central Pollution Control Board studied the problem of illegal mining and its effect on local ecology. It made several recommendations to the central government.
The report called for an immediate halt to mining, restoration of the area through filling and plantation of trees, removal of rock blasters and revoking of consent granted to stone crushers.
None of the recommendations seem to have been put into practise.
Another activist, Radhakant Shastri, argues that the negative effect on ecology was to blame for a marked shift in the rainfall pattern in recent years.
(Posted on 17-08-2014)