Panel recommends deadline for cleaning Yamuna banks of construction debris, garbage

Proposal to be submitted to National Green Tribunal for final order 

By Soma Basu
Published: Thursday 04 April 2013

A committee set up by the National Green Tribunal has recommended a May 31 deadline for various agencies to clean up the construction debris and waste dumped on the banks of the Yamuna river, treated as the city's backyard. The panel headed by Union environment secretary V Rajagopalan was directed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) in January to ensure that a complete proposal for development and beautification of the river's banks is finalised. The panel was given a time till the next date of hearing on April 23 to submit the proposal.  

As per the proposal, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is supposed to remove 20,000 cubic metres out of about 37,000 cubic metres of debris and waste on the eastern bank of the Yamuna river by May 31. By April 30, DDA is to clean 20,000 cubic metres of about 53,000 cubic metres debris lying on the stretch from Nizamuddin Bridge to Batla House (Dhobi Ghat). DDA, government of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) are to remove all the filth on the Yamuna banks by May 31.

Not only the banks would be cleaned, there would be signboard and watchmen to guard the river banks so that nobody dumps garbage or waste there. Delhi Police (traffic personnel) would see to it that vehicles with debris do not ply on Delhi roads, according to the proposal. However, vehicles with registration of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana would be exempted to ease removal of debris and solid waste along river Yamuna.

Once the proposal is submitted to NGT, the bench hearing the case may take even stricter action while giving its order, says Manoj Misra of NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, the petitioner. “These recommendations are only proposals till NGT passes its final order. However, since the case is going on for about a year and NGT has given about 6-7 directives, work of clean up has already begun,” said Misra.

DDA is only shifting waste: petitioner
Misra was at the same time critical of the way the clean up work is being carried out. “What DDA has been doing is taking all the waste and dumping it along the guide bund along the DMRC bridge to fool the people and NGT.” He said that Delhi Irrigation & Flood Control Department is working on the war footing. But DMRC is yet to begin the work.

Earlier, on February 28, NGT had issued show cause notices to DMRC, Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and the Department of Horticulture, New Delhi, after the court commissioners appointed by the tribunal to inspect the river's banks said that fresh debris was being dumped on the Yamuna's banks by these agencies. The tribunal has asked the heads of various civic agencies of Delhi, the chairperson of DMRC and the principal secretary of irrigation of Uttar Pradesh to submit affidavits giving details of the amount of waste generated in the National Capital Territory (NCT), the mode of its collection and disposal by them. It has given them three weeks' time from March 21 to file their respective affidavits.

Members of the committee have found that the quantum of waste along Yamuna River bank is total 90,000 cubic metres, of which, 37,000 cubic metres of waste is on the eastern bank and 53,000 cubic metres on the western bank.

Environment secretary V Rajagopalan has proposed that it is the responsibility of the agency or authority in whose jurisdiction the land falls to get the debris removed, irrespective of who had dumped it there. The authority may later approach NGT to recover the cost of removal of such illegally dumped material on their land, based on “polluter-pays” principle. He also said that MoEF would support the agencies in recovering the cost.


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