Images of Chhath devotees bathing in toxic foam floating in Yamuna river in Delhi has triggered a full-scale war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The BJP has alleged that the Arvind Kejriwal government has received crores to clean the river, however, the money has apparently been used by the city government in promoting itself through advertisement.
Amit Malviya, in-charge of BJP’s national information and technology department, on Wednesday, tweeted a copy of a letter dated July 1, 2021, from Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal that talked about Centre granting over Rs 2,000 crore to the Delhi government for cleaning of Yamuna.
“The central government has provided Arvind Kejriwal 2,419 crore rupees so far for cleaning the Yamuna. Let alone clean, Yamuna is dirtier than ever before. Where did all the money go? Has Arvind Kejriwal spent all the money in putting out more ads just to promote himself? Shame” Malviya said in his tweet.
On Tuesday, Shekhawat said, “Both Kejriwal and the Delhi government are running away from their responsibility of cleaning the Yamuna river. It is unfortunate that rather than cleaning the river, they are asking women not to celebrate Chhath (on its banks). Kejriwal is disrespecting the voters of Delhi.”
In an apparent attempt to dodge questions over the polluted Yamuna, Delhi Water Minister Satyendar Jain said the BJP and the Congress did nothing to save the Yamuna in 75 years. Jain asserted that AAP will keep its promise of cleaning the river by the end of 2024.
“Before elections, we said we will clean the Yamuna by 2024. The work got delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic but we stand firm on our promise. The Yamuna did not become ‘maili’ (polluted) today. It has been like this for 75 years. The BJP and the Congress were in power in Delhi, but they did nothing to clean the river,” Jain alleged.
Facing intense criticism over frothing Yamuna during Chhath Puja, the Delhi government deployed 15 boats to remove the toxic foam with the help of ropes.
Frothing in certain stretches of the Yamuna river, such as near ITO and Okhla Barrage, has become an annual phenomenon now in winters when the temperatures are low and flow in the river less.