Published: Saturday 15 July 2006

1994: Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of an article published in Hindustan Times, ' And quiet flows mailee Yamuna' and filed a petition against the Central Pollution Control Board and others for failing to clean up the river.

2000: An affidavit filed by the Union ministry of urban development informed the apex court that 62,000 jhuggies on the banks of drains, and on the riverbank caused pollution and hence "had to be removed".

2002: A public interest petition was filed by the Wazirpur Bartan Nirmata Sangh (WBNS) in the Delhi High Court (HC ) against the Union to remove illegal encroachments in Wazirpur.

March 2003: In the petition by WBNS, the court observed:"The Yamuna has been polluted not only on account of dumping of waste including industrial waste... but the Yamuna bed and embankment have been illegally encroached ... In view of the encroachments and construction in embankment, sewerage water and other filth is discharged in Yamuna water". It directed the removal of all encroachments in two months.

October 2003: HC ordered the removal of slums that had come up against government norms. It directed the government to provide basic amenities.

2004: HC took suo motu cognisance of unauthorised colonies and industries and initiated a litigation against various government agencies for non compliance of its 2003 order.

August 2004: In the mailee Yamuna case, the Supreme Court appointed the Anil Baijal committee to draw up a plan to clean the river.

August 2005: Baijal's report observed that as on August 2005, there were about 17,000 jhuggies on the riverbed and 30,000 jhuggies on banks of various drains. It reported that about 25,500 slum families (out of 49,400) were eligible for resettlement and hence many plots were required. 18 sq m plots were to be provided for families settled before 1990 and 12.5 sq m for those after 1990 and before 1998. Baijal estimated that 120-170 hectares would be needed besides substantial resources.

November: HC appointed a monitoring committee headed by Usha Mehra, a retired judge, to remove encroachments upto 300 m from both sides of the River Yamuna in the first instance.

December: HC observed that "...encroachers, who are in illegal occupation of Yamuna belt or its embankment, have no right to pollute and if there is any policy for relocation or rehabilitation, it wont wait for removal of illegal occupation".

March 2006: Usha Mehra Committee reported the removal of 300 jhuggies. It also said that the DDA has reported that sufficient number of plots have been developed for relocation.

April-May 2006: DDA removed 2,029 jhuggies from the notified sites.

May 2006: HC exempted the pandits at the ghats from eviction. Ordered DDA, MCD to provide basic infrastructure for water and sewerage.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.