A two-km long, 300-metre wide and nearly 10-metre deep “artificial lake” has been created in Tughlaqabad due to polluted water collecting in the low-lying area behind the Tughlaqabad Fort, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has told the Delhi High Court on Wednesday. Appearing before the court of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said the “unwanted water body” had been created in the area.
The affidavit also stated that the water collected in the low lying area “may be on account of discharge from areas without a sewage system or due to industrial activities in the vicinity.”
The court noted that such a large quantity of water could be treated and, perhaps, be used to irrigate the forest area nearby.
“Clean up the water. It is a large water body now. Maybe it can be used,” the court said.
“The test carried out by the Central Pollution Control Board clearly indicates that water in the Tughlaqabad ridge area is contaminated and remedial measures are necessary,” the court noted.
A resident of Tughlaqabad had filed a PIL before the Delhi High Court earlier this year, claiming that the “polluted water” in the area was killing the flora and fauna in the nearby forest area and creating a health hazard for the residents. The court had then asked the MoEF to test the water and file a report.
In its affidavit filed through standing counsel Jasmeet Singh, the MoEF stated that the water was “exceeding discharge standards” and contained a large amount of dissolved solid matter. The ASG was unable to answer the court’s queries regarding the technical data given in the report, following which the court asked the MoEF to ensure that an “expert who can explain the ramifications’ of the pollution levels is present in the court on the next date of hearing.
The DDA counsel, however, told the court that a survey had not revealed any bird or animal carcasses and said the water pollution was not affecting the wildlife in the area. The DDA also told the court that the water was getting collected due to “leaching from the unauthorised colonies on ASI land in the area”.
“We have written to the Delhi Jal Board to install a water treatment plant in the area to clean the water,” the DDA counsel said.
The court has now directed the DJB to file an affidavit on the measures to be taken to clean up the water body by the next date of hearing.