This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Marwah Yash. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

What Has Yogi Adityanath Really Achieved By Shovelling Muck By The Gomti River?

More from Marwah Yash

Created by Marwah Yash

Do you think Yogi Government should take Stringent steps to clean Gomti and other rivers?

The Gomti river, a tributary of the sacred Ganga, spends a considerable time on its 12 KM walk and run in Lucknow, after sprinting about 240 kilometres at other places. On Sunday, June 24, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Ajay Singh Bisht (also known as “Yogi” Adityanath) swept the banks and nearby places of Gomati with brooms and removed muck with spades. Indeed a thing to celebrate when such a towering figure and his 7,000—err, I mean—700 followers and friends do something to clean the river which is touted to be more polluted than its big sister, the Ganga, in Benaras.

A lot of coverage was achieved by this event, but maybe for the wrong reasons. The campaign, advertised earlier through newspaper ads and huge banners across Lucknow, claimed that 7,000 people, including students and citizen volunteers, had signed up for the exercise which was to be carried out between 1090 Crossing and Gau Ghat. All the activity was concentrated around the 100-metre stretch at Jhulelal Park, where the CM was supposed to inaugurate the campaign. Forget 7,000, barely 700 showed up for the programme, mainly nagar nigam workers, civil defence personnel, local netas, and BJP supporters.

As people squirmed in their plastic seats, trying hard to not get baked in the oven-like saffron tent, the bureaucrats lauded their “utsaah” (excitement) as Yogi reached the adjoining ghat, surrounded by scores of media persons. Several hired safai karmchaaris (cleaning personnel), who began sweeping furiously for the cameras. Ten minutes later, Yogi and most other people left, leaving behind selfie-takers and contractors guarding their untouched cleaning tools.

Gomti Is Now Clean. Or Is It?

Citizens have the power to change things, and the greatest movements have always had huge participation from citizens—if not as leaders, at least as ardent foot soldiers. A closed lake whose aquifers are not polluted can always be cleaned by manual or automatic methods, even by volunteers’ clean-up drives, and regular checks on pollution. A river, however, has a lot of adventure to offer.

In 2001, and I am sure even before, citizens volunteered to clean up the Gomti river and banks on Sundays. Brandless, but with super motivation in their minds, they were ultimately named “Sunday Warriors” by local newspapers.

Originating in my hometown Pilibhit, The Gomti serves as a water source for over 35 lakh people. Here in Lucknow, about 36 city drains pour untreated sewage into the river. No wonder this stretch is the most polluted. Agricultural runoff brings lot of insecticides, pesticides and fertiliser, and its impact can also not be ignored. Gomti receives huge quantities of untreated sewage, industrial effluents, and also street washouts bringing oil, asphalt, sediment and many types of heavy metals.  If the findings of a research article that tested 15 locations are to be believed, then the level of Arsenic toxicity in Gomti in Lucknow exceeds twice the permissible limit set by the WHO. According to the research article, Copper exceeded the permissible limit at two locations, and Cadmium at all 15 locations exceeded the permissible limit by several times. “From industrial effluents to domestic discharge, the river becomes more of a flowing dumping yard,” said the research. Can your brooms and spades clean this mess? Green Gomti by 2017 was a target set by the previous government. What is yours, CM Yogi?

Setting A New Course

Every city expands, every state develops, but it is high time this development is inclusive. Development should be sustainable, not destructive.

The Sabarmati riverfront has for long been projected as the Gujarat model of development. However after industries and townships have grown, such riverfronts add to the stress on the rivers. It will be fun if Ajay Ji and his spade travel a bit more around the path of Gomti and break down a few illegal constructions and push industry effluents back to their sources. Thanks to him, a few more Indians, and even some formerly clueless Lucknow wallahs now know about Gomati. I will thank him more if the rivers of UP get their dues, and their recharge system are made efficient.

Rivers are not only service providers in terms of water to people, trees, and animals, they exert a huge economic impact on the population. And while Yogi is at it, I would love if he could announce an event where people instead, of dipping in the Gomati on Ekadashi, start taking its water home and bathe in it. Agreed it will be an event of high TRP value. Maybe when people go home, and measure pollutant levels of that water, they will finally realise the amount of care the river needs.

In addition to Lucknow, Lakhimpur Kheri, Sultanpur Kerakat, and Jaunpur are the most prominent of the 15 towns in the river’s catchment basin. It will be fun if the CM visits all of them and makes this much-needed change happen. If Bhagirath brought Ganga to this planet, why not a “Yogi” get the wells cleaned and help the recharge of this important river?

You must be to comment.

More from Marwah Yash

Similar Posts

By Tarun

By Jaisika Kushwaha

By Meghali Saikia

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below