The Delhi government and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) today came under fire for delaying compliance of orders on the Yamuna cleaning project of the National Green Tribunal, which asked them to show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them. In a chamber meeting held at the NGT premises, a bench headed by Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar rapped the authorities saying that except for shifting blame, the stakeholders, including the city government, had no reasons to offer in support of their “inaction and non-cooperation” for completing the project. It also asked them to explain why the amount earmarked by the Delhi government and the DJB for Yamuna rejuvenation should not be attached for violation of the NGT orders. 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 green panel said it was a matter of great regret that the judgement of the tribunal in relation to cleaning and rejuvenation of river Yamuna passed on January 13, 2015 have not been complied with by the various stakeholders till date. During the meeting which went for over an hour, DJB CEO Keshav Chandra told the tribunal that work on Phase-1 of the project was stopped as the AAP government had initiated enquiry against him for alleged financial irregularities over the setting up of sewage treatment plants.
The NGT took exception over this submission and asked why the DJB CEO did not approach the NGT, instead of stopping the work. It directed DJB to file a detailed reply in ten days and posted the matter for further hearing on November 6. Advocate Kush Sharma, appearing for Delhi Development Authority (DDA), said they have complied with the NGT orders and were releasing the money as demanded by the DJB. He said even the NGT has appreciated the steps taken by the DDA for Yamuna cleaning. The meeting was attended by the chief secretary of Delhi government, DDA vice chairman Udai Pratap Singh, DJB CEO, representative of the project proponent Larsen & Toubro and officials from National Mission for Clean Ganga. 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’.