Rejuvenation of Yamuna: NGT seeks fresh reports from DJB, Delhi govt, CPCB

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has expressed dissatisfaction over the reports submitted by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), the city government and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) regarding the revival measures for the Yamuna and sought fresh documents from them.

The NGT was hearing a matter regarding the rejuvenation of the river. It had earlier sought reports from the agencies concerned.

A bench of NGT Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava took note of the reports and said, “Let fresh reports be filed by all the concerned states or authorities on or before the next date of hearing (December 7) with a clear indication as to how many drains have been totally tapped and the number of remaining drains still discharging treated or untreated or partially-treated wastewater directly into the river Yamuna, affecting the water quality with respect to the prescribed standard.”

According to the DJB’s report, it is in the process of holding a joint survey of all the drains in the national capital to identify the sources of sewage entering the drains and take remedial action to ensure sewage-free drains, the bench, also comprising judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member A Senthil Vel, noted.

“The DJB has given a list of 11 drains of which five (one at Shiekh Sarai Phase-I, Khirki Extension, Panchsheel Vihar and Savitri Nagar and the other four drains at Chirag Delhi village) have been tapped so far and action for six is yet to be taken,” the bench noted.

It, however, said the report did not disclose where the wastewater of the tapped drains is being diverted.

According to the Delhi government’s report, several steps are still to be taken, including tapping all drains, complete treatment of sewage, laying a sewage network in 1,799 unauthorised colonies and 639 Jhuggi Jhopri (JJ) clusters, industrial effluent management by 13 common effluent treatment plants (CETPs), faecal sludge (septage) management, regulation of the floodplain and utilisation of treated wastewater, the tribunal noted.

“Construction of sewage treatment plants (STPs) is still in progress and construction of 12 STPs has been held up on account of land issues. The upgradation of 18 STPs is in progress, the status of upgradation work for 11 STPs in September 2023 ranges from 21 per cent to 95 per cent and for seven STPs, the work is yet to begin,” the bench said.

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It also said according to the report, a 22-km stretch of the Yamuna floodplain, from the Wazirabad barrage to the Okhla barrage, covering an area of about 1,600 hectares, is being taken up by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for restoration and rejuvenation.

Regarding the CPCB’s report, the green panel said it is not only “cryptic”, but the facts and figures disclosed in it do not tally with the reports filed by the other authorities.

It allowed the agency’s prayer for filing a better and comprehensive report before December 7.

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