" --IANS"
Agra, May 19 - River activists here on Friday welcomed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order banning open defecation in the river Yamuna and a fine of Rs 5,000 on violators.

The NGT order on Friday prohibits defecation and dumping of municipal waste or construction debris in the flood plains of Yamuna. The order also says that violators would pay a fine of Rs 5,000.

Activists of the River Connect Campaign -- Ranjan Sharma, Devashish Bhattacharya and Shravan Kumar Singh -- in Agra told IANS that the river police squad will need to be activated.

Right now they do not have a boat which will have to be provided. Hundreds of locals can be seen openly defecating on the river banks everyday. So far no action has been taken, although we have a river police squad, said the activists who assembled at the Etmaduddaula view point park here on Friday evening.

The river activists, in a memorandum to the District Magistrate on Friday, demanded that before the monsoon rains, the stretch within the city limits should be cleaned up till the Taj Mahal.

Another activist Jugal Shrotriya said: There is a need for dredging and desilting on a large scale. Heaps of polythene have accumulated and choked the aquifers of the river.

--IANS

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