Channel feeding the water bodies covered with encroachments
The traditional subterranean water bodies in Vrindavan and surrounding areas are under threat; as no measures have been taken to refill these water bodies with the rain water by connecting them with the neighborhood roof tops. Several ponds are vanished and some remain in dilapidated condition.
Most of these ponds are either dry or filled with the polluted water of sewerage. Even if there is some fresh water in any of those ponds, they are filled by the submersible pumps by extracting ground water.
The only water channel which used to feed water to the tanks, ponds and kunds of Vrindavan is already encroached. The ancient channel, locally known as ‘Vrindavan Minor’ used to feed several water bodies including Davanal Kund, Moti jheel, the ponds of Bihari ji ka bagicha, Anandamayee Ashram, Rama Krishna Mission and two step wells (Babri) and many other wells and tanks till late 20th century.
The colonies have come up on the nine kilometers stretch of the channel. The water from the channel is obstructed by the illegal encroachments to reach these water bodies. The real estate boom in last two decades encouraged encroachment in the government lands. The channel of ‘Vrindavan Miner’ also had also fallen prey of the greed of the real estate mafias. Several illegal colonies were built unabated on the land from where the water channel passed.
Illegal colonies aside, most of the legally constructed households discharge their domestic waste into this water channel due to the lack of connected sewerage facilities. Many household owners filled up the channel with debris to serve as footpaths or dispose sewage into them. They have narrowed the breadth of the channel and transformed it into a drain.
The water collected and stored in the tanks from the miner was another source of groundwater recharge apart from Yamuna. The irrigation of the gardens and groves were highly dependent on the water of this channel. Several of these water tanks were dried up when the water from the channel stopped feeding them. Some the tanks are no longer present while the rest are now plagued with problems.
The Irrigation department had tried to bring water in the channel, but the efforts were confined into the papers only. Nothing was done on the ground. The residents lost hope that the channel will ever be restored.
Karshni Anupriya, a resident of Krishna Vatika of Vrindavan has sought the information from the District Magistrate under the RTI act about the number of encroachments on the channel of ‘Vrindavan Minor’. She has also sought to know about the action taken by the administration against those responsible for encroaching on the channel.