Delhi HC directs Major Reforms for Yamuna Revitalisation, water management

In a suo-moto PIL aimed at addressing the recurring issues of waterlogging, flooding, and the degradation of the Yamuna River, the Delhi High Court recently issued a comprehensive set of directives to overhaul the national Capital’s drainage and water management systems.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, stressed the acute challenges faced by Delhi, particularly the severe impact of the Yamuna River’s overflow last year.

The Bench criticised the existing disjointed approach to drainage management, attributing it to a lack of coordination among various agencies and departments.

Noting the urgent need for a unified command structure to facilitate inter-departmental and inter-governmental cooperation, the court outlined a vision for a proactive administrative stance against Monsoon-related mishaps.

The decision comes in response to the national Capital’s apprehension of the Monsoon season, which has historically led to widespread waterlogging and infrastructure collapse.

In a move to consolidate efforts, the court mandated the Delhi government to centralise the management of all 22 open drains discharging into the Yamuna to a single department or agency by April 30.

Further addressing the pollution and mismanagement affecting the Yamuna River, the court ordered comprehensive actions, including the geo-tagging of water bodies, rejuvenation of degraded water bodies, and the enforcement of rainwater harvesting measures across government buildings by September 30.

The court also stressed the importance of public participation in these initiatives, proposing the creation of rainwater harvesting systems in low-lying areas as a community-driven project.

Recognising the ecological and social significance of the Yamuna’s floodplains, the High Court instructed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to clear encroachments and pursue green development projects along the riverbanks.

These include the construction of platforms for religious activities, ensuring a balance between cultural practices and environmental conservation.

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Additionally, the court has called for immediate action to address sewage discharge from unauthorised colonies and informal settlements, directing the government to ensure 100 per cent sewage treatment to prevent untreated waste from entering the Yamuna.

In conclusion, the court’s directives mark a significant step towards mitigating the environmental challenges faced by the national Capital, aiming for a holistic improvement in water management and urban planning. The next hearing is scheduled for May 20.

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