The National Green Tribunal today rapped the AAP government and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for not filing their replies to the show cause notices on why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for delaying compliance of orders on the Yamuna cleaning project. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar granted them final opportunity to file their responses and warned them that in the event of default, it would be compelled to pass coercive orders. “Despite definite directions contained in our order dated October 23, the DJB and NCT of Delhi have not filed the replies to the show cause. Normally, we would have proceeded to pass orders at the consequence of non-compliance. However, in the interest of justice, we grant last and final opportunity,” the bench, also comprising Justice Dalip Singh, said and posted the matter for next hearing on November 9.
On October 23, the tribunal had issued notice to them to show cause why, for patent defaults committed by them and their officers and not complying with to the orders of the tribunal, an amount equivalent to the ‘Maili Se Nirmal Yamuna’ revitalisation project value be not attached by the tribunal. DJB CEO Keshav Chandra had then told the NGT that out of the total fund of Rs 1,755 crore allocated to the Board, Rs 939 crore was for water and Rs 816 crore for sewage. Of this, Rs 351 crore has already been spent on the sewage head on maintenance and the projects allowed by the committee constituted by the tribunal, he had said.
The CEO had also said that there was tremendous stress on the officers of DJB as they were finding it difficult to take any decision and were not clear “about the direction in which Government of NCT Delhi wants DJB to proceed.” The tribunal had earlier directed the Delhi government and DJB to submit a status report on the progress of the work in the first phase of cleaning the river 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 that pollution in the Yamuna was of serious concern as it was highly contaminated by industrial effluents and sewage.
It had also asked Haryana and Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board 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. The green panel had noted that almost 67 per cent of the pollutants reaching Yamuna would be treated by the two sewage treatment plants at Delhi Gate and Najafgarh under the first phase of the ‘Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project’.