NGT forms monitoring committee on Yamuna cleaning

National

The National Green Tribunal today formed a monitoring committee on the cleaning of the Yamuna and directed it to submit an action plan on the issue.

A bench headed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairperson A K Goel appointed retired expert member B S Sajwan and former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra as members of the committee while directing them to submit action plan by September and a detailed report in the matter by December 31.

The green panel asked the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments to assist the committee on Yamna rejuvenation.

The Tribunal directed the authorities to take strict action against encroachments on the Yamuna floodplains.

It also directed the Delhi Development Authority and the Delhi Jal Board to hold a meeting on July 30 for identifying land for setting up of a sewage treatment plant on a drain which falls under phase-II of the Yamuna cleaning programme.

The NGT had earlier rapped the Delhi Jal Board over cleaning of the Yamuna and had said there has been no “meaningful progress” on the ground in the last three years.

The green panel had noted that the work on 14 sewage treatment plants (STPs) had not even begun. These were supposed to be completed by March 2017 as per the court’s January 13, 2015 judgment.

The STPs would treat the effluents and ensure no pollutants enter the river.

“In spite of proceedings in the case in the last three years, there is no meaningful progress at the ground level. It does appear that the present in-charge may not be competent enough to handle the issue.

“Today, we are in a failure situation. We don’t want useless and incompetent people, who have failed us, the people and the country,” a bench, headed by the NGT Chairperson, had said.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the situation, the tribunal had directed the CEO of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to put in place a suitable officer who can ensure that work on the 14 STPs starts within a month and asked him to file an affidavit in this regard within two weeks.

The bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi and Expert Member Nagin Nanda, had directed Haryana to file an affidavit on the steps taken to ensure that no untreated effluents flow into the Yamuna.

The Phase-I of the clean Yamuna project aims to lower the pollution levels in the Najafgarh and Delhi Gate drains, while Phase-II deals with Shahdara, Barapullah and other drains.

The DJB informed the tribunal that with regard to Phase-II, 11 drains have been trapped and effluents were being treated.

It also said the work for trapping of three out of the remaining six drains will be completed by December 2020 and that for other two by December this year.

The tribunal had earlier directed the Delhi government and the DJB to submit a status report on the progress of the work in the first phase of cleaning the Yamuna.

It had then directed Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to file a complete report of the stretch of the Yamuna falling beyond the national capital.

The green panel had said pollution in the Yamuna was of serious concern as it was highly contaminated with industrial effluents and sewage.

It had also asked the Haryana and Himachal Pradesh pollution control boards to jointly conduct a study of water quality and the flow of Yamuna at the point it enters Haryana, and submit the list of industries located in the catchment area.

 

PTI